Huge liquor ban area for Vines
Large parts of Gisborne will be subject to a liquor ban during the Rhythm and Vines New Year’s festival in a bid to quell the drunk and disorderly behaviour seen a year ago.
A ‘‘no BYO’’ policy introduced at last year’s event led to a massive increase in the number of drunk and drugged people needing attention by St John Ambulance, and the number of patrons behaving in a disorderly manner in public areas. Police have told the Gisborne District Council that temporary liquor bans needed to cover a much broader area for the 15th edition of R&V.
In a recent letter to council, Senior Sergeant Ross Smith said 18 to 25-year-olds saw the festival as ‘‘a rite of passage and is often associated with consuming large
"The number of patrons gathering outside the event to consume alcohol was underestimated." Senior Sergeant Ross Smith
amounts of alcohol’’.
He said the ‘‘no BYO’’ policy led to ‘‘large numbers of patrons looking for public areas to consume alcohol outside the event’’.
‘‘Although this was anticipated and extended liquor bans approved, the number of patrons gathering outside the event to consume alcohol was underestimated,’’ he said.
Smith said officers policed the liquor ban ‘‘but due to inadequate signage could only warn patrons’’ rather than issue fines. Police issued 109 warnings at six locations over four days.
‘‘This had a very limited or nil effect’’, he said, and patrons quickly learned where the liquor ban boundaries were and set up drinking just outside these areas.
This led to a lot of vehicles parked on roadside verges as people consumed large amounts of alcohol. Patrons then discarded rubbish along roadsides, slept in vehicles or ditches and were also ‘‘urinating, vomiting and defecating on the roadside,’’ he said.
Police and the council received a number of calls from residents complaining about these issues.
This year’s three-day event begins on December 29.
The last event attracted 14,850 people the first night, 14,075 the second, and 16,200 on New Year’s Eve.