Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Awash with alcohol and lies in the Internet Age

Awash with alcohol and lies in the Internet Age


Kilbirnie Pak 'n Save in booze ban after selling to pair of 16-year-olds


Our country has been described as “awash by alcohol” by more than one observer. In New Zealand, buying alcohol is easier than buying a car fuse at a petrol station. (I know this, I’ve tried.)

On Tuesday 29 July, I noticed the following signage at Kilbirnie’s busy Pak’N’Save supermarket;




Indeed, the entire liquor section at the supermarket – a not inconsiderable area of the complex – had been blockaded by a Great Wall of Loopaper,  chippies, sugary soft-drinks, and other highly-processed, salted snack-foods;






Perhaps what really caught my attention was the wording of the yellow signage, at regular intervals adorning the Great Wall;




Liquor products are currently unavailable.

Liquor products are currently unavailable due

to an issue with our liquor license. This will be

resolved by Thursday  30th July.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience

this issue has caused and we appreciate your


Pak N Save




Breaking the law and selling liquor to sixteen year olds is defined as an “issue” by Pak N Save’s management?

The term “issue” has supplanted the previous terms that might also be applicable in this case; “problem”; “stuff-up”; or simply, “breaking the terms of our liquor license by illegally selling to young people under 18”.

Any one of those terms would be more honest than a hazy veil of euphemism, referring to losing a liquor license for five days as an “issue”.

Forgetting to reapply for a liquor license might be deemed an “issue”. Selling to under-age kids is a major screw-up. (Also somewhat illegal.)

I wonder if the supermarket’s owner would be as forgiving of a shoplifter caught with a dozen Whittaker’s chocolate bars (Whittakers being better quality than Cadbury, any day) down her blouse, casually apologising for the “issue” of not paying for the goods?

There seems to be a casual – almost dishonest manner – by which the supermarket has presented their transgression to the public. As if National had loaned Pak N Save a couple of their spin-doctors, to minimise any public disapproval of the “issue”.

Our government has the very best of spin-doctors, and we are daily mis-informed; distracted; deflected; and outright lied to by Ministers who have been caught engaged in questionable activities.

John Key’s assertion that a prisoner at Mt Eden Prison “fell” of the balcony, rather than being pushed by fellow in-mates, was his version of Pak N Save’s “issue” with their liquor license;

“One of the claims that had been made, I think, was that someone had been thrown off a balcony – in fact, actually, Serco say that the person jumped off the balcony, or tripped, or fell.”

It is ironic that in the Age of the Internet; of near instantaneous communication and super highways of information, that we have more misinformation; half-truths; “spin”;  and sheer lies thrown at us than ever before.

It is not just alcohol we are awash with – it’s lies.

In the case of politics, the irony is that we, the tax-payer, pay spin-doctors to help government ministers, to lie to us.





Fairfax media: Kilbirnie Pak ‘n Save in booze ban after selling to pair of 16-year-olds

Fairfax media: Corrections Minister looking at options for Serco-run prisons after allegations of ill-treatment




key's credibility takes a hit


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 July 2015.



= fs =

  1. Brendon Harre
    3 August 2015 at 10:22 am

    How the other half live:

    Frank I have been wondering if NZ is self medicating on drugs and alcohol in part as a response to poor urban environments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park

    It seems to me that for the median and below income person/family, housing has become increasingly expense -this has resulted in more kiwis being stuck in a cycle of unstable tenancies, often living in overcrowded, cold, damp and unhealthy conditions.

    Add in other pressures like dog attacks http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/70762141/serious-dog-bites-on-the-rise and NZ’s high rate of violence and abuse within the home and you can see a picture that challenges many Kiwis view that NZ is a great place to bring up children.

    • 3 August 2015 at 11:15 pm

      Brendon, I’d say that your assessment contains a great deal of merit. I believe past investigations have shown that humans living in poor urban environments – ghettos, overcrowded, cold, damp and unhealthy conditions – often resort to increased alcohol and drug use.

      Add unstable tenancies (transience, lack of long-term security, no sense of community, isolation, alienation) and that makes for a nasty “social-cocktail” of degraded living.

      Then, on top of that, people in such environments – watching television – see standards of living that could never aspire to, and the resulting smouldering resentment is light a fuse. I am reminded of this quote;

      “Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of peoples ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” – Andrew Maxwell (Irish Comedian)

      NZ is a great place to bring up children – but not for everyone. If ever such a “golden age” existed in this country, it is long gone…

    • Samwise
      4 August 2015 at 10:53 am

      Well spotted Brendon!!

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