The government says alcohol is a major cause of Cook Islands’ extremely high road toll, and is to change the law next month to lover the drink-drive limit from 400mcg to 250mcg per litre of breath.
But Pastor Ngarima George says free alcohol – or indeed, any alcohol at all – should be banned at government functions.
He asked: “Why does government continue to provide free alcohol at particular functions?
“Instead of the coronavirus, we have the kaikava virus (alcoholic virus). Government is showing our young people that it’s wonderful to drink alcohol.”
Te Marae Ora, the Ministry of Health, has been internationally applauded for serving only healthy food and non-alcoholic drinks at conferences and other functions.
Other departments, however, are liberal with alcohol, both at staff drinks and at functions to which VIPs and other guests are invited.
“They have said that drinking alcohol is one of the main reasons for deaths on our roads,” said George.
“So why are they promoting and encouraging free alcohol at their events, do they not get stopped and breathalysed?”
George said government was setting a bad example to kids.
And his concern is not just with politicians and public servants – George says the habit of drinking alcohol at sporting events, fundraisers and many other functions, should stop.