A Drunken State

A Drunken State weaves personal drinking stories with the harsh reality of our drinking culture in New Zealand : more than six hundred thousand adults binge drinking once every week; 75,000 teenagers regularly binge drinking; a high incidence of young women being admitted to hospital with alcohol poisoning. The statistics become meaningless unless we know someone affected by alcohol; this programme puts faces to the figures, putting our drinking behaviour into the context of real Kiwi lives.

Journalist, retired talk-back host and parliamentarian Pam Corkery tells her story of first getting drunk:

“Being drunk made me feel ecstatic and comfy and the room was spinning which most people, normal people don’t like, and I loved it.”

But then Pam tells of how over the years her drinking got worse, to the point where she became an alcoholic:

“good close friends wouldn’t let me go around for fear of how I’d behave in front of their children”.

And we follow twenty five year old Lukas as he goes out for a night:

“You gotta go out, have a good time, get horsed. If you don’t get horsed, well what’s the point?

And we meet Kerri and her female mates who play drinking games before heading out for the night :

“We all like to get a little bit tipsy before we go out….to make us feel a little bit better.”

And then we follow them as they go out for a night of dancing and drinking.

These human stories are set against the backdrop of the proposed changes to our liquor legislation – the new bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the way we drink and it’s about to go before parliament.

In the midst of this political debate there’s fierce discussion going on – on one side there’s the “change is needed” lobby and, on the other the alcohol industry which argues that “most people drink responsibly and drink quite reasonably” and that we’re not in the midst of an epidemic.

So what’s the new liquor bill going to achieve and does really it go far enough? And how serious a problem is our drinking behaviour?

Inside New Zealand On Demand