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NZ drinking culture documentary turned into a self-staged intervention - and I'm so glad it did

“The theft of road cones cost NZ businesses around $1M NZD a year.”

Isn’t that crazy?? The concept of drunken teens and adults staggering around NZ’s city centres heaving the beloved orange road cones with them only to drop them on a nearby lawn or keep in their garages is daft and silly – but I have always seen it as harmless fun.

When putting it into the context of the cost towards our businesses and the country’s economy, it turns that harmless fun into something a bit more serious sounding.

I recently watched our friend Paddy Gower completely unfold the current drinking state in Aotearoa as well as some stark truths, in his documentary “Paddy Gower: On Booze”.

I grew up with a special glass of wine at birthdays or special occasions, and was allowed one sip of dad’s beer when I was a little kid. I went to university – the University of Waikato, to be exact – where I definitely crossed into the indulgence part of social drinking as most university-goers experienced. Then, working in corporate life – the after work drinks after a stressful day, or at a professional event to network with others – meant that culture of drinking just kept on moving forwards, at least for me.

In NZ, it’s seemingly normal to drink alcohol. If not binge drinking, it’s a glass of wine at dinner or, when asked, a glass to share at a wedding or special occasion to be nice. I never ever thought I had an issue with drinking – I never seemed to rely on it, and wouldn’t drink everyday, so what’s the problem?

Paddy Gower managed to turn a seemingly standard documentary around the effects of alcohol and the binge drinking culture in NZ, into a self-staged intervention (albeit unknowingly so). This led to a bigger, holistic question that probably got all viewers thinking to themselves - do I have a problem?

In my opinion, and after having my eyes opened post the documentary, drinking has so many facets to it. I enjoy a glass of wine. I really do. I like the taste, I like how it relaxes me. But maybe it’s time I really dig deeper and reassess why I turn to alcohol in different situations - and I think it's something all of us should start doing too.

*Paddy Gower: On Booze can be streamed on Three Now.

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