Con­trol­ing the party on Wanaka’s streets

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Wanaka is ‘‘no dif­fer­ent than any­where else in New Zealand, and ev­ery week we are deal­ing with kids who are mak­ing mis­takes,’’ po­lice­man Con­sta­ble Phil Vink says.

How­ever, Wanaka’s ‘‘par­ty­town cul­ture’’ made young people more sus­cep­ti­ble, Vink, also a Wanaka Al­co­hol Group mem­ber, said.

‘‘Walk down the street and ev­ery sec­ond ta­ble has got al­co­hol on it.’’

While al­co­hol was a hot topic, about 30 Wanaka pro­fes­sion­als and com­mu­nity mem­bers met to dis­cuss how le­gal highs could be con­trolled, in the lakes district’s sec­ond fo­rum, last Wed­nes­day.

While coun­cils could not ban ap­proved drink and drugs in the com­mu­nity, lo­cal govern­ment could im­pose con­trols on where the out­lets were lo­cated, Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil reg­u­la­tory man­ager Lee Web­ster said. These could be in­cor­po­rated into a Lo­cal Ap­proved Prod­uct Pol­icy or LAPP, within coun­cil by­laws.

On the al­co­hol is­sue, en­su­ing dis­cus­sion reached a con­sen­sus that Wanaka had enough liquor li­censes and did not need any more in the next 10 years, but that it had too many off-li­cense premises.

Youth rep­re­sen­ta­tive, year12 stu­dent Aoife Baker, from REAP’s cy­ber-bul­ly­ing project Sticks and Stones, supreme win­ners of the re­cent Trust­power Cen­tral Otago Com­mu­nity Awards, felt there were ex­tremes: While some kids thought it was fine to go out and get drunk, oth­ers did not drink at all, but gen­er­ally young people were start­ing to reg­u­late them­selves.

‘‘As they’re get­ting older, they’ve started to get more aware of the im­pacts,’’ Baker said.

‘‘Go­ing out and get­ting drunk – it is frowned upon.’’

As for the fu­ture avail­abil­ity of le­gal highs, opin­ions were di­vided about whether or not shops should be con­fined to highly vis­i­ble ar­eas within range of closed cir­cuit cam­eras and the po­lice sta­tion, or commercial ar­eas, where there were pros and cons of be­ing less vis­i­ble.

There was also dis­cus­sion about prox­im­ity to schools, re­serves, bet­ting shops and li­censed premises and what con­strued ‘‘sen­si­tive sites’’.

Indi Pi­card started at Wanaka Pri­mary School on June 9.

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