Con­cerns around Pride Pa­rade

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

Busi­nesses in Auck­land’s popular Pon­sonby shop­ping precinct are con­cerned about mea­sures be­ing taken for the city’s up­com­ing gay pride pa­rade.

The Pride Pa­rade, which cel­e­brates the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity, be­gins at 7.30pm on Saturday Fe­bru­ary 25.

But car ac­cess to Pon­sonby Rd will be closed from 4pm as bar­ri­cades are erected.

Pon­sonby busi­ness owner Jonny Rud­duck, who is a big fan of the Pride Pa­rade, said he had two is­sues with how it had been or­gan­ised: bar­ri­cades and the early road clo­sure.

Rud­duck, who owns Il Buco pizza shop, said nei­ther of these re­stric­tions fea­tured in the Santa Pa­rade on Queen St.

Pride Pa­rade or­gan­is­ers told Rud­duck the dif­fer­ence be­tween the Santa Pa­rade and Pride Pa­rade is that chil­dren know if they mis­be­have Santa won’t come, whereas at the Pride Pa­rade there are adults, al­co­hol and a high chance of protests.

Pro­test­ers brought the Pride Pa­rade to a halt ear­lier this year. The group were protest­ing against Po­lice and Corrections staff be­ing in­cluded in the pa­rade.

The pro­test­ers ar­gued there had been abuse of trans­gen­der inmates in prison.

Pride Pa­rade co-pro­ducer Jonathon Smith said bar­ri­ers were put up for health and safety rea­sons.

‘‘I was re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing back the pa­rade in 2013, and back then I made the de­ci­sion to put them up. My stance hasn’t changed.

‘‘We have to pro­tect the peo­ple watch­ing and we have to pro­tect the par­tic­i­pants.

Auck­land Tourism, Events and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (ATEED) head of events Char­maine Ngarimu said crowd man­age­ment sys­tems for dif­fer­ent pa­rades and events were de­cided case-by-case.

‘‘They take into ac­counts fac­tors such as the mix of par­tic­i­pants and spec­ta­tors, and the lo­ca­tions the events hap­pen in,’’ Ngarimu said.

Rud­duck said even if bar­ri­cades are a ne­ces­sity, the early clos­ing seems ex­ces­sive.

‘‘Saturday is a key trad­ing day and to lose three and a half hours of trad­ing to­tally negates the extra rev­enue gen­er­ated dur­ing and af­ter the Pride Pa­rade event.

‘‘It re­ally makes no sense to close Pon­sonby Rd for hours be­fore the event when the Santa Pa­rade only needs two.’’

JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Busi­ness owner Jonny Rud­duck is con­cerned over mea­sures taken for the up­com­ing Pride Pa­rade.

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