Neigh­bours ‘ner­vous’

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON AND LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Or­gan­is­ers have promised to take a hard line on al­co­hol con­sump­tion for this weekend’s in­au­gu­ral NRL Nines event at Eden Park but the sta­dium’s neigh­bours are anx­ious about how the tour­na­ment will af­fect the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It’s an un­prece­dented event,’’ Eden Park Neigh­bours As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Mark Don­nelly says.

‘‘There’s noth­ing like that’s hap­pened be­fore.

‘‘Ner­vous is a good ex­pres­sion to use.’’

The worry is that with eight hours of play on each of the two days and an ex­pected crowd of up to 46,000 the worst of New Zea-

this land’s drink­ing cul­ture could be im­posed upon those who live around the sta­dium.

‘‘We see the sev­ens party at­mos­phere based around al­co­hol and Eden Park will es­sen­tially be New Zealand’s big­gest pub on the day and that can be dif­fi­cult to con­trol.

‘‘But the big­gest worry is the pre-load­ing and the af­ter-party. I’ve seen people fin­ish­ing a six pack be­fore go­ing into the sta­dium.

‘‘We’re hop­ing for and ex­pect­ing a strong se­cu­rity pres­ence out­side the ground.’’

Eden Park Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive David Kennedy says or­gan­is­ers are tak­ing the sale and sup­ply of al­co­hol very se­ri­ously.

Rev­ellers will be de­nied ac­cess to the sta­dium if they turn up in­tox­i­cated, he says.

Bag searches and even breath­a­lyz­ers will be used at the en­trances to the park if nec­es­sary.

Liquor war­dens, se­cu­rity guards and po­lice will be on hand to keep an eye on in­tox­i­ca­tion within the sta­dium.

The zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy is to en­sure the safety and en­joy­ment of league fans, Mr Kennedy says.

‘‘With 46,000 people here who want to have fun and watch what’s go­ing to be the most amaz­ing rugby league tour­na­ment, the last thing you want is some­one who is drunk an­noy­ing them.

‘‘You can come here to watch the tour­na­ment and have a drink - but don’t come here just to drink be­cause we don’t want you.’’

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