About the Author

Dr Muriel Newman

Dr Muriel Newman

Drunkenness is no excuse


Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on
By

AlcoholBecause alcohol is seen as a cause of negative behaviour, alcohol-related norm violations are explained with reference to drinking rather than the individual. Thus, by believing that alcohol makes people act badly, we give it a great deal of power. Drinking becomes a tool that legitimates irrationality and excuses violence without permanently destroying an individual’s moral standing or the society’s system of rules and ethics – Barbara Critchlow, 1986

Almost every week our newspapers carry stories of events that get out of hand when partying revellers become a public nuisance. In most cases Police are called in or someone ends up in A&E. Invariably the booze becomes the target rather than the bad behaviour of party goers and there are calls for further restrictions on alcohol.

Dr Anne Fox, a UK anthropologist and founder of the British based consultancy Galahad SMS, has been studying drinking cultures around the world for the past 20 years. Working in the field of substance abuse, Dr Fox has assisted numerous organisations including the British Army, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board. In 2012, she accepted a commission from the Lion Foundation to look into alcohol-fuelled violence in Australia and New Zealand. The study, which involved several months of field work and focus groups, began in mid-2013 and the paper, Understanding Behaviour in the Australian and New Zealand night-time economies, was published earlier this year.

While most reports treat alcohol fuelled violence as an inevitable consequence of heavy drinking, this research encompasses human behaviour and cultural norms to provide a different perspective which is worth examining.

Dr Fox found that unlike in many other countries, New Zealanders to a large extent blame alcohol for unacceptable behaviour, rather than drinkers; a little like blaming cars for speeding instead of drivers.

As Dr Fox, who is this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator says, “One of the strongest and most universal beliefs we encountered in our research among adult New Zealanders is in alcohol’s transformational powers. A belief in the ‘disinhibiting’ power of alcohol runs through New Zealand society from the youngest to the oldest.

“Although conclusive evidence to the contrary exists, many New Zealanders still believe that alcohol has the power to hijack their better natures, control their thinking and make them do crazy and stupid things.”

First, some facts about drinking: around 80 percent of New Zealanders drink alcohol, with a consumption rate of 9.3 litres per head of population in 2011-12, compared to France at 12.6 litres, Germany 11.6, Denmark 10.6, and Australia 10.1.

The Ministry of Health estimates that 15 percent of the New Zealand population are “hazardous” drinkers, and they recommend that a safe level of consumption is four or five standard drinks ‘per session’ for men and three or four for women.

Dr Fox describes our drinking culture as festive or episodic, similar to Nordic drinking, in that we drink at times that are largely separate from ordinary life. This contrasts to the Mediterranean drinking culture, where alcohol consumption is integrated into daily life – as in some parts of rural France, where working men may enjoy a shot of red wine with breakfast, or in Germany, a small glass of beer.

Many studies have been carried out to better understand “drunken behaviour”. Dr Fox quotes cases where participants who received non-alcoholic placebos acted in a far more inebriated manner than those drinking alcohol, even to the point of slurring their speech and experiencing blurred vision – until they were told that they had not received any alcohol.

This extensive research has led to the conclusion that it is not alcohol itself that causes a loss of inhibition – alcohol acts as a symbol that gives people the licence to behave in an uninhibited way.

A key point made in the report is that drunken behaviour is determined by culture, not chemicals, and is far more under a drinker’s control than some might believe. The brain state that relaxes inhibitions and frees up behavioural expression is voluntary and reversible.

This is not to say that alcohol has no physiological effects – of course it does. In fact, the paper warns that irrespective of cultural norms, “drinkers should not attempt to drive, operate machinery or be in sole charge of infants or young children, to give just a few examples”. But, the physiological effects do not determine the behavioural response.

Dr Fox found that the ‘average’ New Zealander knows very little about the way the body processes alcohol, what levels of drinking are harmful, how tolerance and dependence can develop, or what the signs of alcohol poisoning are. The report highlights the need for more effective alcohol-education strategies, including a better understanding of the ways in which young people learn to drink in cultures that do not have a problem with alcohol abuse or anti-social behaviour.

It also suggests that young people need more facts: “In anything but minute doses, alcohol is extremely damaging to a developing brain”. Parents and teenagers need to know that brain development continues until around age 21, and that large amounts of alcohol are harmful.

They should also understand that alcohol stimulates the brain in the same way as natural endorphins. That’s why participants in experiments using placebos can end up feeling just as drunk as those using alcohol. In other words, individuals are perfectly capable of creating their own buzz without needing alcohol.

In one focus group described in the report, young women indicated that while they understood that excessive drinking could lead to liver disease and accidents, this information had little impact on their drinking patterns. But when they were told that a rum and coke has as many calories as a bar of chocolate, and that three pints of beer have the same calorie content as a hamburger, they were horrified and immediately began discussing ways to cut their intake.

A crucial question addressed in the report is whether alcohol causes violence. The point is made that if alcohol is the cause of violence it would affect all sexes across all societies equally. Clearly it doesn’t. For most normal, healthy individuals, there is no evidence at all that alcohol unleashes violence. As an Australian policewoman explained, “I have never met a violent drunk who was not also violent when sober”.

In Costa Rica, 26.2 percent of men fight after drinking compared to just 3.5 percent of Danish men and 3.7 percent of Spanish men. In spite of Luxembourg having one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world, it has one of the lowest homicide rates, whereas Jamaica has one of the world’s lowest alcohol consumption rates but in 2005, had one of the highest homicide rates.

In many countries, drinkers remain in control of their behaviour, even when severely inebriated. In Japan, heavy drinking is widely tolerated, but overtly drunken or anti-social behaviour is not. Likewise, Cuban men pride themselves on control when drinking. In Nigeria, the more a man consumes alcohol and remains sober, the more respect he gains, and amongst students, being able to drink and remain sober makes one a “hero”.

While violence does not go hand in hand with alcohol use, in certain cultures and situations, alcohol can facilitate aggression – but only if aggression is there in the first place, both in the individual and in the culture. Alcohol does not produce aggression where it doesn’t already exist.

So what leads to aggression and violence?

The report explains that while some violent offenders are born with brain abnormalities, other risk factors such as complications during birth, lack of proper nurturing in infancy, or being born into a violent home environment, can predispose a child to violent and aggressive behaviour.

The way in which young boys are raised also has a crucial influence on the levels of violence within a society, since if they are trained in both non-violent responses to conflict, and face-saving avoidance techniques, they won’t react aggressively to every perceived slight, taunt or jest.

In the same vein, domestic violence will not be eliminated by locking up all perpetrators – if young boys are continuing to be socialised in the same way as their violent fathers.

International evidence shows that cultural change to suppress potential aggression in boys can be successful. In Kenya for example, to attain a high status among Maasai men, a boy would have to kill a lion, but the prohibition of lion hunting has forced a re-direction of cultural definitions of manhood – now, educational achievement is equated with high status and masculinity in Maasai tribes.

Different societies have adopted a range of approaches. Violence-repressing cultures such as Japan and Denmark are rich in social and cultural solutions for non-violent conflict-avoidance and have strong community-based values. Virtually no support is found in these cultures for aggressive responses in day-to-day situations.

If New Zealanders continue to believe that alcohol causes people to behave badly, we should expect undesirable conduct in and around drinking venues. The script needs to be changed from excusing such conduct to, “You are in control of your behaviour at all times. Drunkenness is no excuse.”

We also need to change our cultural norms – violence and aggression need to be re-defined in the popular consciousness as forms of weakness that will attract scorn and social ostracism.

The justice system also has an important role to play.

The report outlines how Newcastle police are targeting the 5 percent of the population who are responsible for 90 percent of the violence. They have increased bail compliance checks from 40 to 400 a month, making sure that each night offenders, who are out on bail or probation and are subject to a curfew, are not on the streets.

Whether New Zealand would be prepared to accept a New York style zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour – given that some would view it as an unwelcome intrusion into civil liberties – is a question that needs to be asked.

Given that offenders in most countries, who drink and drive, are required to attend educational classes in order to regain their license, the report suggests that those convicted of violence or aggression could be required to engage in rehabilitation with regards to drug and alcohol use, violence and conflict avoidance, and so on.

When it comes to the judiciary, their major concern is whether intoxication in assault cases affects a person’s mental state to the extent that they can be said to be acting involuntarily and therefore without criminal intent. The report finds that in a majority of court cases, not only is drunkenness considered to effect moral judgment and self-control, but that faculties appear to be regarded as incapacitated in direct proportion to the volume of alcohol consumed. In this respect the law and science are diverging.

The implications are serious. Perpetrators understand that if they use intoxication as an excuse for their behaviour, they may be charged with a lesser crime and receive a more lenient sentence. And if media commentary reports that drunkenness is an acceptable excuse for poor behaviour in the courts, then this reinforces a perceived license to transgress.

In her report, Dr Fox notes that culture is like a balloon: if you squeeze one end, the other will bulge out. This means that behaviours that are driven by very basic underlying human needs will not be eliminated by a process of change, but will be distorted or displaced, sometimes creating serious unintended consequences. As an example she explains how the reduction of drink driving in the UK, has had a negative impact on binge drinking, since some people who would normally have moderated their consumption because they were driving home now feel free to ‘binge’ since they have arranged alternative transport.

As far as public policy is concerned, Dr Fox’s report is confronting. The understanding that “alcohol-fuelled” violence is really “culturally fuelled” violence means that raising or lowering the price of alcohol, changing opening hours, or restricting or banning advertising, will not make it go away.

When such behaviour threatens society, offenders should be sanctioned and stigmatised not only socially but through the justice system. Whether policy makers will have the courage to go further and tackle the violent underbelly of New Zealand culture, in order to bring about real change in the future, remains to be seen.

THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:

Do you believe New Zealand has a culture of violence? 

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.

 

*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

 

Click to view x 120

THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS

Yes, But then the whole of western society has the same problem. Why? Because it stems from one outstanding theme ‘The lack of discipline in an unrestricted ultra liberal concept of how we can live and enjoy life without concerning ourselves with the rights of others’. Violence increases within any civilization when that civilisation or empire starts the downward track to disintegration, it has happened to all Empires in the past, and there is no reason to suppose that we, here in so-called ‘God’s Own’ are not experiencing the same phenomenon. One of the most ironic contributions which this country has made was to ban corrective physical punishment by parents, not to be confused with child bashing and ultra violence of dysfunctional families. Discipline in schools and moral degradation go hand in hand and the political downgrading or the family has been a root cause. Lenin, Stalin and his cohorts attempted by communism to eliminate the concept of family from Russia, they failed, due in part to the strong religious background of centuries. The most amusing contradictions on violence comes to us from our T V news, who avoid showing real life violence to ‘protect’ our sensibilities yet this is followed by T.V. shows of such violence which makes a mockery of T.V news censorship. Brian Brian
Drunkenness appears to go hand in hand with the macho image. This is being reinforced in NZ culture by the glorification of the aggression encouraged by the ‘warrior’ hero worship engendered by mandatory haka participation in our schools and in public displays. My youth was strewn with regular drunken weekend parties and pubbing but violence was never a part of my nature, so perhaps alcohol releases underlying tendencies peculiar to any individual’s existing hangups. If social drinking was promoted as a path to social camaraderie and violent behaviour derided then we might see a change in anti-social attitudes – but as long as aggressive confrontation is encouraged in schools there is little hope for us to ever become a nation of civilised drinkers. Mitch
Yes, but only marginally moreso than any country where civil society has been encouraged to break down. Dave
The alcohol age limit should be raised back to 21. Laurie
Dr Fox’s report hits the nail on the head. In New Zealand (and Australia) drunkness and drinking are regarded as a sign of manliness. I saw this often when working in summer camps in the US. Kiwi and Aussie counselors were noisy and rambunctious about their drinking. You were not included unless you drank lots and later talked about it. I observe this now in New Zealand. We have often up to 3 generations of men who consider it ‘masculine’ to consume lots of beer and brag about it. To be accepted women have now joined the mix. The result is domestic violence. Couple with this Pacific Island cultures where they have had limited exposure to alcohol . Society and the courts have to drive home hard the fact that drunkeness is no excuse. People have to learn to blame the drinker not the drink. Binge drinking is misusing alcohol badly. Fox’s statistics show this. Peter
I personally thoroughly dislike the Haka – it is intimidating.. and there is seldom cause for that. Rochelle
No I don’t really think we have a culture of violence. I do agree that we have a certain element that think laws are not made to apply to them. If the judiciary was to take a harder line with offenders instead of making allowances for drunken behaviour it may send the required message. However there are some that you just can’t get through to if they are drunk or sober. Terry
My observation over many years has been that people who are physically or verbally violent after drinking alcohol, are physically or verbally violent when sober. Basically, it is in their nature to be arseholes, and are best avoided. I walk away and wont include them in my social network. Vic
As a taxi driver who works nightshift I see instances of stupid & anti-social behavior as a direct result of people being drunk. Rex
Absolutely. There is much more violence and an undercurrent of aggression pandemic here in NZ; much ,more so per capita then in any other country in the World many of which I have seen first hand . Most violence goes unreported and is tolerated and even encouraged for its “manliness” and that which is reported is usually diluted by inappropriate process to hide the true statistics and not frustrate the stupid aspiration of being a “First World Country”. Even the national sport of Rugby has violent behavior countenanced and esteemed as a form of heroic warring displacement parody behavior as a form of entertainment. Violence is wholly naively entrenched and even esteemed by many as being normal adult behavior and something to even be amused by. Zoran
New Zealand overall does not have a culture of violence, but certain sectors of our society do. It is these sectors we need to concentrate on to alter their cultural acceptance of violence. Urban
Yes & No. Don’t agree with these levels of warrior culture and hakas etc. being normalised on our society. Monica
Violence increased with the repeal of Corporal Punishment. Prior to repeal NZ had one murder a year, post repeal one murder a day. In order to be “nice” to murders we now have 364 innocents murdered each year and murders walking among us who will kill again. To enable alcohol as an excuse is preposterous. G.Graham
Our for most of our people our dominant cultural events are with confrontational and violent sports. Aggression is never far below the surface. Ray
Stiffer penalties for violent drunkenness; 2/3rds of the Judges are too lenient. More compulsory rehab courses.. Ross
Because we do not understand and respect the important values setting out what is to be expected and respected, between the male and female. Maurice
Yes and no, depending upon which strata of NZ society one looks at. Most NZers are not violent, though we are insecure and therefore readily threatened, so at least the tongue can quickly turn to “verbal violence”. Alison
Of course we have. Just read the daily paper. Desmond
I have always said the violence is caused by lack of discipline & parental control & should be dealt with as such not just the alcohol being the sole problem. Margaret
You aint seen nothing yet. Keep importing raghead fanatics and they will make drunken teenagets seem tame. Michael
Once Were Warriors says it all. Barbara
New Zealand does not have a culture of violence on the whole. There are a far greater proportion of violent offenders in some races than in others and it is my belief that this is an evolutionary condition. For example … if generation after generation down through the centuries has been influenced by civilizing conditioning and other groups have been living like animals over the same period of time with just say 100 years of civilizing influence, then the ones with hundreds of years of civilizing conditioning will be less violent than the groups with fewer decades/centuries of behaviour modification. Quite simple really. Additionally, there will be aberrations to the general rule because of other influences, such as genetic defects caused by environmental issues or brain damage from misadventure etc. Dianna
Some men cannot control their anger whether they are drunk or not. David
New Zealand dose have a culture of violence and most of them are Maori and Islanders. Look at our prisons they tell the story. Robert
Driven by a few. Judith
Newsmedia hilight the odd rare isolated event as normal. David
This question can be answered Yes & No. I worked in the Liquor indursty for 7 years, & during that time I used to see people who where drunk but never Violent, The problem with today is the Police are to soft on the Drunks they pick up they Politicans should be telling people if picked up drunk you will spend a night in a Cell then you will be asked to do 50 hours of comunity work,like clean a Beach, The parents should be called & told to come & see there Child in the Cell but not let out untill the morning. Geoff
The haka should be banned as it is an incitement to violence. Boxing likewise, as it is a blood sport. Rugby has become thugby, played by subhuman morons. John
In a lot of circles & some of this violence is fueled by drink. Bruce
But mainly with certain ethnic groups. David
Following overseas examples. Jim
I do not want to brown bash but unfortunatly Maori and Pacific Islanders are War like tribes and have the highest domestic violence and crime rate per race/population here in NZ . Why condem the the majority of NZ’s for a sad few. Wayne
Education is where it must begin, in our universities, schools and homes. Education in upholding and defending rational values conducive to man’s survival as man and not slave. Civilised behaviour across the broad spectrum of life will not begin until all tax funding of these state institutions is incrementally removed and replaced with private institutions of learning. I’m serious. Don
Witness an all-black called the beast. Bruce
Encouraging the game of rugby for children is also encouraging violence. Mary
Of course we do, and it has been fostered by a total lack of law and order. Kids know that they can get away with almost anything and receive no penalty for their actions. and, its been said before … maoris are a savage culture and they think nothing of turning to violence. … just need to look at our prison population, child deaths caused by their own and the HUGE gang problem in this country. What a joke …its time to get tough, break their own bones and disable their ability to injure innocent people. Im sure you wouldn’t see this in Singapore for example. Des
Yes, and it is mainly generated from within the Maori sub-cultures first, then various PI groups and then from within the general underclass. Frank
Violence very much in the Maori and Islanders culture. Kay
Maori tradition promotes violence,taught from a young age, see who the offenders are. Edward
But it has increased a certain amount over the years mainly due to decreasing living standards and people have become unhappy and dissatisfied and antisocial. Theodorus
I don’t believe that the general culture is violent; – though a proportion of it certainly is. I find it interesting that a report commissioned by an associate of an alcohol producer has received a report that blames something else. Perhaps it would have been just as helpful to have a simple fact pointed out;; – that alcohol kills off brain cells in the inverse order of development. Fortunately for the many who drink in excess, the body manages to replace the most of them. Ted
But the Maori culture certainly is. Their obeisance to the haka dances, so-called “welcome” ceremonies and other social interaction is basically aggressive and not pleasant and inconsiderate of others. Gordon
Yes. I’ve seen too many men stabbed by women, beaten with 4×2 and run down with cars to believe we don’t have a culture of violence towards men. Mark
Violence in NZ is condoned and even caused by not allowing children and young people to experience consequences of real punishment if they carry out violent behaviour. Allan
Talk to any Policeman. Maurice
Police should be doing more to stop this crap by the younger ones but need govt.help.  Maybe a time under 16yolds should be off the streets 9pm maybe. Peter
Anglo Saxon culture involves more violence. Anti social behaviour should be penalised- drunks should beaccountable All Purveyors closed 3am>7am only, Otherwise their choice. Lowest age 15yrs. Fewer laws, more liberal attitude. Drunk in public same as drunk driving – bad news. Bill
Drunkenness is a personal self inflicted problem.Those who cause violence etc while under th influence must be dealt with. Drunkenness should not reduce the penalty for violence. Brian
Definitely! Ken
There is an underlying culture of violence that is kept in check until alcohol releases it. The availablity of an acknowledge drug which changes behaviour of some individuals has become a matter of concern for large segments of the population who fear for their safety over the proliferation of liquour outlets. John
Especially in Maori and Pacific Islander cultures. Rog
Definitely. Terry
I think our rugby culture is a violent one – I know a lot of people who will get pretty drunk & have a good night out but the ones with a rugby background are more likely to get involved in viloent confrontations while out drinking. It’s not always the case but there does seem to be a trend among my friends & acquaintances. We also know to avoid the “rugby head” types when out drinking. Dave
It appears to be the way certain cultures solve their arguments, Though I believe booze has a lot to answer for. Rod
Sadly. Peter
It is not really possible to give a totally correct yes or no answer, but there IS a culture of violence although this is certainly not so for some of us. Rather, there is a culture of violence among certain groups or “cultures” in our society. Rob
After a long life observing the affects of alcohol on people, I would say that alcohol inhibits a persons normal reactions. A nonviolent person does not become violent when drunk. Roger
WE have a huge problem with machismo violence in NZ males. This is encouraged by commercial sport (rugby, league) and verbal expressions like ‘harden up’, ‘be staunch’. It is endemic and deep seated. Gil
… and that culture of violence is being promoted constantly. The haka is drilled into our school children. Maori celebrate themselves as a “warrior culture”. If you listen the media, the Maori Battalion won the war all on their own. No wonder the ratio of prison inmates is as it is. Yet none of this is discussable, as it is “racist”. It is time to get real, and look at what is being celebrated in Maori culture. Patrick
There is a culture of violence in some parts of our community , mainly in in the low income and unfortunately this is represented highly by our indigenous cousins. Tony
This applies to certain groups mainly Maori and Pacific Ilanders where home life and lack of education is lacking.  The penalty for violent behavior is to weak. Ken
Among certain races – contrary to urban myth, we are not (IMHO) all created equal and certain races can be identified with recognised qualities. Rob
Violence is taught by parents and therefore, by some members of society as a way of facing their vision of the world. I don’t believe it is part of our culture, at least not yet. Much of what we see as violence is as a result of ‘services training’, being macho, rugby culture etc. Bill
No, It’s only a few causing all the trouble and it’s no wonder when you see all the violence on TV and computers, many think it’s the norm. Athol
When one section of society regards themselves as warriors it is to be expected. Mike
Unfortunately the example of the sport teams win at all cost attitude is flowing through to school teams and through that into the daily habits fo a large part of us accepting it as normalpart of our lives. Take away the huge amounts of money what can be made and bring back the real sort and sporting attitude. Johan
And where are our young men going and what are they doing ? Teaching other young men how to kill the infidels. You hypocrites. Paul
Dr. Fox’s report makes a lot of sense and should be given a wide hearing, also in the media, and certainly be considered by the relevant authorities. Pieter
Make all offenders who claim the were drunk or on drugs pay for the damage they cause and double the penalties that are normally imposed on offenders If they cant pay double the jail time. Colin
Only in some sub-segments of our society. Graeme
“The way in which young boys are raised also has a crucial influence on the levels of violence within a society.” While I agree with your guest writer that males are by far the more aggressive in society, let us not forget the prevalence of violent tendencies in some women as well. When sports like rugby and boxing glorify physical abuse of others, of course some people are going to take that on board. Colin
I would say one of sheer nastiness would be more to the point. Max
Yes we have always had a culture of violence it was going on back in My grandmothers time early 1900s the only thing it is more in the open now a days so do not see a lot of change over the next 100 years alcohol or no alcohol. Russell
Indeed it does, one of this country,s major problems and it seems to be inbred in society. David
I think that this is another chance to increase the price of drink, just as they have done with smoking. IT will not stop people doing what they want to do! Bill
We can’t say that NZ does , but we can say certan other groups and ethnic groups do and this should not implicate all New Zealanders. Roy
Individual violence evolves from frustration through lack of direction in life because ‘todays’parents are politically persuaded freedom of choice MUST be allowed – no society rules – “but we have to have more of societies money as of right.” I suggest: “Ask not what your country can do for you …. JFK. Stui
I think a lot of it is a misguided cultural , historical belief that Kiwis are great warriors and tougher than the next person. It is a culture that seems to manifest itself in sober, and drunken situations. As an Australian born, New Zealand resident, I face this in everyday life. New Zealand males seem to have to prove themselves in unnecessary ways , sometimes violent, other times bordering on threatened violence. This is just my personal opinion, based on first hand experiences. Barry
I think the analogy of the Maasai men and the lion would explain the reason our now once were warriors behaviour in NZ. Chris
I also believe that there is that aggressive ‘warrior’ gene present in Maori that becomes more apparent when drunk. Tony
Acceptance of pathetic behaviour because “it’s we did it as kids” is seriously inadequate parenting. David
Violence seems to be the norm rather than the exception. This country has a Top Dog mentality among men and increasingly among women who perceive they have to be tough like men. Alcohol is no excuse. Laurel
Read the news, or live in Whangarei… Andy
Mostly in the North Island by 17% of our population. Garry
Yes violence in our country is quite often just skin deep and easy to trigger, alcohol, rugby, tv school, all violent. James
It is not simply a culture of violence, it is a culture of mindlessness that leads to violent outcomes. This mindlessness is far too easily excused by the “bleeding hearts” within our society, thus giving no encouragement to the wayward to consider the consequences of their actions, or the responsibility that they must take. Quite frankly this culture is promoted and sustained by the so-called role models put forward in our society, especially for young males, that represent mindless gladiatorial sports and pursuits. It is time that we matured as a nation and developed a more valuable and enduring culture! Charles
I do not experience violence, even when drinking several doubles of 60% alcohol in an evening at a whisky tasting. And whisky is depicted as the hardest of the hard. I agree with Dr Anne Fox. Ian
Only from one sector. Bill
Part of the population has a culture of violence. Mark
The English speaking world, in general has a culture of violence. We see it non stop on tv and movies, and screen games, and very little else. Gordon
N.Z. does not have a culture of violence, any more than any other country. However N.Z. has developed a culture of irresponsible personal behaviour, because of the proggressive socialistic control imposed by disgusting governments who believe common sense & personel responsibility have no place in todays society.. Allan
Yes, most definitely, I have lived in New Zealand for around 50 years and it has always been the same. Beryl
Been there on both side of the pattern. Glenn
For our population I think we as a nation are very violent as shown in the courts every day. Peter
But we are not as bad as the police in America seem to be at the moment.. Barry
Drunks should be put to pay for damages caused. Pay hospitals bills too. Mihaela
Definately! I have lost count of the times that I have been threatened and beat up by people, drunk and sober! We need to change our ways fast! Rhys
Of course N.Z. has a culture of violence, just look at every all blacks game, what do they do first the stupid bloody haka a war dance, GET RID OF IT and get rid of the black culture being taught in schools, pre schools and kindergartens, then maybe well start to see some changes, we don’t need to be teaching kids haka’s and rubbish that will set some of them on a path of violence later in life, especially when they start getting around Booze. Frank
Good advertisment for the deregulation of the non violent natural stimulent marijuana. Peter
And it is getting worse. Roger
It seems that many children of the baby boomer generation have an entitlement attitude to life and bad stuff can always be passed of as caused by other causes abrogating their personal responsibility. Other groups in society have the same attitudes allowing them to avoid personal responsibility as well. Drug and alcohol abuse should never be a mitigating factor when crimes are committed under their influence. Willy
Of course NZ has a culture of violence – you just have to look at the child abuse statistics to see that. But governments just treat the symptoms; they never deal with the causes like the welfare system that splits up families and alienates fathers and children. There are no simple solutions, but the report has some good ideas to make a start. Andrew
If you look at the data, Maori are over-represented in the violence statistics. Their culture, which they are pushing onto the whole of society is a violent one – it glorifies warrior behaviour and denigrates women on the marae. To start with, it needs to be withdrawn from schools as teaching very young children war dances and the need to defer to men is just crazy! Chris
Yes, macho male posturing is a major cause of violence. Brian
Now that’s novel – blaming the drinker instead of the drink! Gary
Politicians will never attempt to change the culture – they haven’t got the intestinal fortitude! David