On Thursday 16 June around 20 community-based offenders from across the Wellington district took part in a joint initiative between Community Corrections, Wellington District Police, the NZ Fire Service and Upper Hutt City Council to drive home the ripple effect of drink driving.

The Alcohol Impairment Education Programme (AIEP) is modelled on a similar highly successful programme run in the Waikato where, of the 166 participants, only one person has re-offended.

The day-long Wellington programme was held at Orongomai Marae and targeted repeat drink drivers on community-based sentences. The aim of the day, said Caz Guard, Service Manager at Upper Hutt Community Corrections, is to highlight how poor decision making can have far-reaching consequences.

“Offenders really engaged throughout the day and were able to readily identify the ripple effects that drink driving can cause,” said Guard. “ It was a real eye opener for them and it was evident they learnt a lot and are prepared to start making changes to better themselves.”

“All the agencies talking to offenders are involved in some way with the after effects of someone’s decision to get behind the wheel when they’ve had too much to drink.”

“The programme is about encouraging offenders to make sensible decisions for themselves and their families. It’s about education as much as it is about prevention.”

Police’s Traffic Accident Group, emergency services including the Fire Service, a mortician and alcohol and drug counsellors shared their work experiences dealing with the first-hand effects of poor decision making.
Participants also saw the Last Choice car involved in a fatality on the Paekakariki Hill caused by alcohol, speed and poor decision-making; completed an obstacle course while wearing goggles that simulated being drunk, and watched a DVD about the aftermath of a Hawke’s Bay fatality that claimed two lives and left two with life-long injuries. Graham Stephens from the NZ Fire Service talks to a repeat drink driving offender about the Last Choice car

Additionally the programme covered the effects of alcohol and drug use on the body.

Agencies and organisations involved:

  • Police Traffic Accident Group 
  • Orongomai Marae
  • NZ Fire Service
  • Ora Toa Health Services, a kaupapa Maori alcohol and drug service
  • SCL Wellington
  • Upper Hutt City Council

Offenders from Kapiti, Upper Hutt, Porirua and Wellington attended the programme. They received a certificate of attendance and were credited with up to seven hours towards their sentence.