Huge liquor ban area for Vines

The Dominion Post - - News - MARTY SHARPE

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.

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