Christmas tips for partying safe
- Be a sober driver and put yourself on Santa's 'nice' list. Your mates can also get there by buying your alcohol-free drinks and chipping in for petrol.
- Don't be a 'Nigel-No-Mates', stick with your squad. Keep an eye out for each other, even on the way home.
- Pace yourself. Swap a cocktail for mocktail and love those Christmas mince pies.
- They may not be Santa's sleigh but Ashburton Taxis are as close as it gets. Give them a call for a safe ride home if you and your elves have had one too many Christmas drinks.
- Unleash your inner Kiwi kid. Take a break from eating and drinking and challenge your mates to a game of backyard cricket or swingball instead.
- Be a lover, not a fighter. It never ends well when you fight with your friends or others after a few drinks. Have a Merry Christmas!
Recipe for a great night out
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can be a recipe for disaster, especially at this time of year – embarrassing yourself at the work Christmas function, not knowing how to get home safely or worst of all getting into a fight with someone!
Canterbury Dietitian Lea Stening says it is important to begin thinking about what you're eating well in advance of heading out for the night. When your stomach is full, alcohol is absorbed much more slowly.
"If you are going drinking after work, then you need to be thinking about food as far back as lunchtime. Have a healthy lunch of wraps or sandwiches containing some low-fat, protein-rich food, such as fish, cheese or eggs with salad and fruit," she says.
"Mid-afternoon have a trim milkshake, ideally with some banana and berries. Before you head out, have another protein-filled roll or sandwich."
If you are going to a midday function where there will be alcohol, Ms Stening advises filling up beforehand on a healthy breakfast, such as wholegrain cereal, fruit, wholegrain toast, and scrambled eggs or low-fat yoghurt.
Alcohol is high in calories, so she recommends eating healthy options. "Avoid very high-fat, high-salt foods such as chips, sausages or bacon, as these foods will just add to your calorie intake."
Non-alcoholic drinks also act like food, slowing down the absorption of alcohol.
Ms Stening says it is important to keep well hydrated, particularly if you are out in the sun. However, she suggests avoiding high-energy drinks, sports drinks and carbonated drinks as these "increase your load of sugar, caffeine and 'gas'."
If you are having people around before you head into town, always make sure there is plenty of food available. It's never a good idea for you or your friends to get drunk before going out for the night. It's not safe for you or those around you.
When chips and dip won't cut it, try something more substantial before heading out:
- Homemade wraps - include some healthy protein, eggs, salad and cheese.
- Sushi - salmon or chicken are both delicious and healthy options.
- Edamame - these Japanese beans are available frozen from the supermarket or your local sushi shop.
- Toasties - try ham and hummus or good old cheese and baked beans.
- Scrambled eggs - add tuna for extra protein.
- Wholemeal pasta - just add chicken and pesto sauce.
- A baked potato - easy to make in the microwave and yummy to eat.
- Pizza - make your own healthy version at home.
- A low-fat smoothie with berries and trim milk.
Make your party a good one
If you're having a party this summer, register your details with Good One so you can have an awesome, hassle-free night!
Good One is a website where people can register their event information. The details are then sent to local community police, so they know where parties are happening.
The initiative was set up in 2014 by Christchurch Police, in conjunction with other agencies, to stop parties from getting out of control. After talking to university students and other Christchurch residents, the Police came up with the party register as a solution.
Sergeant Steve Jones says it quickly became clear most of the hosts were not the ones causing problems. In fact, they often turned out to be the victims.
"Hosts actually wanted to have a good party that did not create issues for them or their neighbours but they were unaware of what could go wrong and the simple things they could do to prevent problems."
When a party is registered in Ashburton or Christchurch, the organisers are contacted to check that they are well prepared. Sometimes, police are invited to visit a property beforehand and on the night they may pop by to make sure everything is going okay.
"The purpose of Good One is not to stop parties but to prevent problems before they occur," Mr Jones says. "Good host management is proven to contribute to fewer alcohol-related, anti-social problems, which is good for the whole community."
Tips for hosting a good party
Before your party
- Register your party on goodone.org.nz. This will ensure that local police can provide advice and back up if things go pear-shaped.
- Limit your invitations to mates only and let people know what time your party will end, so they can plan their ride home. It would pay to have spare bedding ready for anyone who might crash at your place.
- Let your neighbours know you're having a party and tell them what time it'll finish. You might also want to give them your cellphone number, so they can call you during the party if they have any concerns.
- Put your valuables in a safe place and, if you can, lock the bedroom doors.
During your party
- Spend some time at the gate or front door throughout the night, so you know who's at your party.
- Provide plenty to eat and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Look out for your mates. If you're worried about someone's drinking, ask them to slow down or stop. You might also want to have a central bar area where alcohol can be kept and served by a sober person.
- If gatecrashers turn up, tell them it's a private party. If they won't leave or you're having any issues, call the police for assistance.
- Turn down the bass on your stereo. If a noise control officer turns up, work with them. If you do, you'll have a better chance of avoiding further problems.
- Call the cops if things get hairy. The police are there to help, so work with them and encourage your guests to do the same.
After your party
- Stick to the end time you agreed with your neighbours and ask your guests to leave quietly, in small groups if possible. If you have any party animals, turning the music off is a great way to signal that it's time to go.
- Early the next day, clean up any party rubbish off the street.
- Check in with your neighbours to see if they had any issues and do what you can to fix any problems.
Good One is supported by ACC; the Police; the Health Promotion Agency; Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service; Lincoln University; the University of Canterbury; Community and Public Health Canterbury District Health Board; University of Canterbury Students Association; Lincoln University Students Association; and CPIT.
Ashburton workplaces supporting staff to party safe
Many Ashburton workplaces are taking a responsible approach to hosting their Christmas functions this year – providing for a good time but encouraging people to pace themselves and get home safely.
Staff functions and social occasions with employees can be a great way to get to know each other, build relationships and celebrate a company's success. However, it's the employer's responsibility to make sure the environment is safe and enjoyable.
Ian Neumann, co-owner of Neumann's Tyre Service in Ashburton, says his company is proud of their approach to hosting work functions.
"We make it a priority that everyone has a safe night. We don't want to stop anyone having fun, we just want to make sure that no-one gets harmed in the process."
The company often hires a bus to take its 40-50 staff and their partners to Christmas functions or makes sure everyone has a sober driver to take them home. It also organises activities that are not based around drinking alcohol, such as ten pin bowling, and makes sure to always have plenty of "hearty" food available.
Ian says responsible drinking behaviour is regularly discussed at the company's monthly meetings and staff members know what is expected of them.
"They're all very good about it and know it's not worth losing their jobs or licences over a few drinks," he says. "It's great, because at the end of the day, we as a company can lead by example but staff do need to take personal responsibility as well."
Nick Yeatman, from agricultural contracting business Yeatman Brothers, says his workplace provides overnight accommodation for those wanting to have a "bit of a knees up" at work functions.
"There's about six of us, plus my brother and I, and we are pretty rural so it's important to have a safe option," he says. "It's part of our workplace culture that if people want to have a BBQ and a few drinks then we will provide the option for them to stay."
Tips for hosting a safe and enjoyable Christmas work function:
- Watch your own alcohol intake, so that you can continue to have a good time and keep your eye on what's happening.
- Organise activities that don't just involve eating and drinking.
- Always have plenty of food available.
- Encourage people to pace themselves by having non-alcoholic drink options.
- Only refill guests' glasses when they are empty.
- If serving spirits, serve singles.
- Don't host alone. Ask friends or family to help you keep an eye on things.
- Children need extra supervision around alcohol and people who are drinking.
- Have transportation options arranged for staff at the end of the festivities.
Remember that in Ashburton we have an alcohol ban in the Central Business District, so make sure people leave their drinks at home or at the bar.
Have a plan to get home safely on your nights out
Remove the stress from your nights out this summer by having a plan to get home safely.
Driving home after a few drinks is never worth the serious risk to yourself and others, and there are many alternative options for getting home in the Ashburton District.
Taxis are always on hand to help you and your friends get home safely. Ashburton Taxis has two 10-seater vans available to take large groups of people home, as well as smaller cars. The company has made it a priority this spring/summer to clear the CBD as soon as possible after 3am and is working hard to ensure everyone gets home quickly.
Mid-Canterbury Police Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield says he is grateful for the work Ashburton Taxis is doing in "further enhancing their late night service of getting people safely home after a great night in our CBD".
"This project has taken very positive steps in reducing victims and reducing crime, and continues to strive for Safer Communities together."
Safer Ashburton street ambassadors and Town Watch volunteers have also been helping to organise groups of people, who live in the same area, to share taxis so they can get home quicker and for a slightly cheaper fare.
Look out for the volunteers near McDonalds on West St, across from the Z Service Station, and let them know if you need any help getting home.
Some hospitality venues in Ashburton also offer courtesy vans to take customers home for free. Just ask the staff if they offer a courtesy van service.
Tips for getting home safely:
- At the start of a night out, make a plan for how you and your mates will get home safely.
- Arrange a sober driver. The group could buy non-alcoholic drinks for the person or pay for the petrol. You could volunteer to be the designated driver.
- Share a taxi. Put some cash aside and share a taxi home. Put it in your shoe, or somewhere safe, so you won't accidentally spend it.
- Save the Ashburton Taxis number, (03) 308 2288, in your cellphone contacts in case you need to call them for a ride.
- Stick together and look out for each other. Even if you're planning to take a taxi, it's best if someone in your group drinks a bit less, so they can keep an eye out for the rest.
- Going it alone is not such a good idea. If you have to walk home, go with a friend. Don't let your friends wander off by themselves either. If you're worried about your friend ask them to text you as soon as they get home.
Places where courtesy vans are available in Ashburton include:
- The Speights Ale House
- Devon Tavern
- The Stables
- Tinwald Sports Bar
- Clearwater restaurant
Summer campaign launched to reduce alcohol related violence
L-R: Kevin Clifford (Safer Ashburton), Mayor Angus McKay, Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield (Ashburton Police)
Ashburton District Council, NZ Police, Safer Ashburton and other community agencies are working together to target alcohol-related harm in the CBD and surrounding business area.
The joint campaign will run over summer and focus on reducing pre-loading, drink driving and alcohol-related violence.
Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay said he hoped everyone in the community would take on board the campaign's messages and play their part in keeping family and friends safe this summer.
The campaign will feature prominent local people, who wanted to be involved in a campaign that would make a difference.
"By coming together, we can make our community even safer and better for everyone," Mr McKay said.
While crime rates remained low in the district, there has been some concern this year about incidents of violence and vandalism in the CBD and surrounding business area, he said.
"Alcohol-related issues need more attention, particularly as we come into the festive season and people start hosting Christmas parties. Anyone planning to host an event needs to think about how their guests can get home safely. You want your guests to have a great time: one that they can remember for the right reasons."
Being a responsible host means providing lots of food and non-alcoholic drinks; checking how guests plan to get home; and encouraging good fun.
Ian Neumann, of Neumann's Tyres, said it was important to him as an employer of 30 staff that his employees enjoyed their work Christmas party safely.
"There's no reason why you can't have a good time but still get home in one piece at the end of the night," Mr Neumann said. "We value our employees and want them to turn up for work the next day without having had an accident or embarrassing themselves because they had too much to drink."
As well as funding the publicity campaign, the Ashburton District Council has improved its liquor ban signage and reviewed its CCTV camera provisions to help improve public safety in the CBD.
NZ Police Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield has been coordinating the efforts of police officers, night security staff and volunteers to make better use of resources and to improve good communications between the various agencies.
Safer Ashburton street ambassadors and Town Watch volunteers have also started helping to organise groups of people, who live in the same area, to share taxis so they can get home quicker. Ashburton Taxis has made it a priority to clear the CBD after 3am. Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS) will also be running its annual drink driving campaign over the summer months.