Sam Neill says lockout laws sucked the life out of Sydney

Sam Neill says the lockout laws have sucked the life from a once vibrant city. Photo / Natalie Slade
Sam Neill says the lockout laws have sucked the life from a once vibrant city. Photo / Natalie Slade

Kiwi actor Sam Neill has slammed Sydney's lockout laws and the state's ban on greyhound racing.

The Kiwi star appeared at the Tropfest announcement on Monday that the short film festival was moving to Parramatta Park in Sydney's west. He used his time on the podium to criticise two of the NSW government's recent moves.

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First up was Sydney's lockout laws which he said had taken the guts out of the city.

"Sydney (in the 1970s) seemed to me to be the most vibrant place in the world and I think a lot of that vibrancy has been sucked out of the place," Neill said.

"I particularly lament this lockout which has taken the guts out of the nightlife of Sydney. And Sydney without nightlife is kind of a pointless place. I don't really want to see Adelaide being a place to go for a good weekend."

Sydney without a nightlife is "pointless", Sam Neill says. Photo / Mark Metcalfe
Sydney without a nightlife is "pointless", Sam Neill says. Photo / Mark Metcalfe

The actor labelled Kings Cross one of the saddest places he's ever been to and said the city needs it just as London needs Soho.

"Instead of making the streets safe, they've just stopped the streets," he said.

He then turned his attention to the moves to ban greyhound racing in NSW.

"I really think that just shutting down the dogs is a crime. It's a very valuable part of working class culture," he said.

"Instead of cleaning up the dogs...they're killing the dogs."

He pointed out that many dogs would probably be destroyed and jobs lost as a result of the ban.

However, he was pleased at the reason he was in Parramatta Park on Monday - for Tropfest's move to a new environment, especially considering the festival almost met its end because of financial issues last year. CGU Insurance stepped in to save the day and sponsored the festival.

Tropfest NZ - for which Neill is an ambassador - had a similar struggle before two sponsors supplied the funds needed for it to go ahead.

The main screening event will be held in New Plymouth at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

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