Locals concerned about Pride Parade
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 on Queen St only needs two.’’