Pacific | Tokelau

Tokelau community makes first submission to government on alcohol sales

The Tokelauan community wrote a formal letter in response to the new bill that allows communities in Aotearoa to influence alcohol sales in their area.

In a move towards community empowerment, individuals and groups now possess a stronger voice in preventing the sale of alcohol in their areas.

The recently introduced Sale and Supply of Alcohol Amendment Bill allows any person or collective to raise objections against license applications for alcohol sales.

Breaking new ground, the Atafu Tokelau Community Group (ATCG), based in Porirua, has submitted its first formal letter in response to the bill.

ATCG explained its thoughts in a letter and said it liked the new law. This law helps communities in New Zealand have a say about selling alcohol in their areas.

ATCG president Lehi Atoni explained.

“We’ve seen first-hand experience, what it has been doing to our families and communities, so it’s been a long time coming for us to start making noise and take a stance to ensure the sale and supply of alcohol are regulated.”

Alcohol a major issue

This inaugural involvement in government submissions underscores the community’s commitment to addressing alcohol-related challenges, Atoni emphasised.

“Alcohol abuse is prevalent and is a major issue within our Tokelau community. Especially the financial impact, the health and well-being impact, and the violent related issues that alcohol has on our communities. It’s very high and it’s very serious.”

Highlighting the significance of the bill’s implementation, Lemauga Lydia Sosene, a Labour supporter, offered an example from her own neighbourhood in Māngere.

“In south Auckland, there are far too many off-licence alcohol shops, I want to reflect on my local community.

There are eight local licences, in a one-kilometre radius, four off-licences, which is where we have the problem.”

With more than 8,000 Tokelauans living in Aotearoa, the community intends to further its advocacy efforts by drafting additional letters in support of neighbouring Pacific nations.