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After-Ball Parties Must Be Planned Carefully

24 June 2002

A set of guidelines for managing teenagers’ after-ball parties is to be launched shortly, in time for the secondary school ‘ball season’, Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia said today.

The Associate Minister was commenting on a spate of arrests in Wellington over the weekend, at two private parties following school balls.

“After-ball parties have become very popular over recent years. They are also increasingly controversial, and the events of the weekend show why.

“The principals of the schools have both said their balls were orderly and trouble-free. The problems arose from excessive drinking at the student-organised parties afterwards,” said Tariana Turia.

“Because they are often large and semi-public, there is plenty of potential for problems. In previous years, after-balls have been followed by violence, drunken driving, unsafe and unwanted sex, and property damage.

“But they can be enjoyable and successful, if they are well planned. The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has developed some recommendations for a trouble-free party, and a booklet will be published soon,” said Tariana Turia.

“Harm minimisation and host responsibility are the key concepts. They involve serving non-alcoholic drinks and food, security at the venue, and safe transport home,” she said.

The resource sets out the steps for planning a safe after-ball, such as setting up a working party, establishing a budget, choosing a venue, security, entertainment and transport.

The package has timelines, checklists and even draft letters to the Police, caregivers and Boards of Trustees, which can be modified as required.

“For after-balls to be really safe, lots of adults have to support the organisers. That means parents and caregivers of students first and foremost, but also schools, the Police, who are involved in licensing as well as law enforcement, and others,” said Tariana Turia.

The resource was developed following a national meeting called by ALAC with people who had been involved in organising after-balls.

ENDS

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