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More out of control parties if new policy adopted

August 19, 2013

More out of control parties if Christchurch adopts new alcohol policy

Hospitality New Zealand is warning that out of control parties will be more commonplace if the Christchurch City Council’s draft local alcohol policy is adopted.

The warning follows reports of two out of control parties in Tai Tapu at the weekend that attracted hundreds of teenagers after being promoted on social media.

Under the draft local alcohol policy all central city bars would be required to implement a one-way door system from 1am and could not remain open any later than 3am.

News reports say partygoers threw rocks and bottles at police in riot gear and personal items and vehicles were stolen from neighbouring properties. One vehicle was reportedly set alight.

Hospitality New Zealand’s Canterbury branch is opposing the city council’s draft policy as it believes, if implemented, it would negatively impact on Christchurch’s social vibrancy and post-earthquake recovery.

Its president, Peter Morrison, says there could also be a serious social cost.

“The events at Tai Tapu over the weekend sound horrendous and more of this will happen if we, as a city, can’t get our heads around the fact that Friday and Saturday nights don’t finish at 1am or 3am for many people.

“Telling young people to go home at 1am or 3am won’t work.”

Morrison says, if implemented, the policy would force suburban bars to close at 1am.

“We would then have people leaving the bars in the suburbs and racing into the city to try and get themselves into an inner city bar before the one-way system kicked in at 1am.

“What would happen when the majority of these people found everywhere was full? We’d have hordes of people on the streets with the potential to create the problems seen at the weekend in Tai Tapu.

“It is surprising that the police do not think this type of situation would be problematic. We believe this thinking is very naive.”

Morrison says licensed premises provide controlled environments and has no doubt that parents would prefer their teenagers to be consuming alcohol in a bar instead of a dark paddock with no security or public transport services.

“Bar owners don’t get on Facebook and say we are going to cram as many people as possible into the bar tonight and you are going to be able to drink as much as you want and what happens next will be your problem.

“What happened at the weekend was very bad. But thankfully, everybody got home in one piece. That isn’t always the case when these sorts of gatherings get out of control. The decision facing the city council is very clear. Do we want more of the carry on we saw at Tai Tapu at the weekend, or do we want an environment that is not only vibrant – but also controlled and safe.”

ENDS

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