Bars bring in cur­few to ease booze ills

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - JA­NINE RANKIN

A group of Palmer­ston North bars has vol­un­teered to close an hour ear­lier each night in an at­tempt to re­duce the harm too much al­co­hol cre­ates in the city.

A dozen bars have agreed to re­duce their trad­ing hours and close at 2am from May 8.

The move is an at­tempt to change drink­ing pat­terns where peo­ple pre-load be­fore hit­ting town af­ter mid­night, al­ready well un­der the in­flu­ence.

Those in­volved are The Daily, The Of­fice, China Inn Restau­rant and Bar, Shoot­ers Bar, The Cobb, The Fish Cocktail and Wine Bar, Bub­bles Cham­pagne and Wine Bar, The Royal, Ma­sonic Ho­tel, Wil­low Park Tav­ern, Mur­phy’s Law, Trader McKendry’s and Cue Bar.

Group spokes­men Ricky Quirk and Gary Wright said the move was a re­sponse to po­lice anal­y­sis that showed al­co­hol-re­lated call­outs kept them busy, par­tic­u­larly in the early evening and at night in sub­ur­ban ar­eas.

The bars wanted to en­cour­age peo­ple to come to drink on li­censed premises, where be­hav­iour was su­per­vised.

The move is sup­ported by po­lice, pub­lic health and the city coun­cil, but not by all young peo­ple.

UCOL stu­dent Kieran Jag­gard said stu­dents would hate it.

He said they pre­ferred to have a few drinks at home – as it was cheaper – be­fore go­ing out af­ter mid­night.

Clos­ing ear­lier didn’t leave much time to en­joy the bars

‘‘It doesn't make sense. It will mean more house par­ties and street par­ties.’’ Kieran Jag­gard, stu­dent

be­fore they would be out on the street.

‘‘It doesn’t make sense. It will mean more house par­ties and street par­ties, and the po­lice don’t want to deal with that.’’

But for­mer coun­cil and may­oral can­di­date and stu­dent Abi Symes said peo­ple would adapt.

‘‘I think it’s awe­some they have done this vol­un­tar­ily and to­gether. We need to work on this binge drink­ing cul­ture.’’

Palmer­ston North al­co­hol harm re­duc­tion of­fi­cer Sergeant Bren­don Ger­rish ex­pected the idea would re­duce peo­ple’s chances of be­com­ing vic­tims or of­fend­ers due to too much drink.

He did not be­lieve ask­ing peo­ple to leave bars ear­lier would cause any prob­lems.

Bars miss­ing from the list, such as the Celtic, Rosie O’Grady’s and the Brew­ers Ap­pren­tice, said they all closed be­fore 2am any­way.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Royal is one of the Palmer­ston North bars that has agreed to close at the ear­lier hour of 2am.

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