Plan to control 'tanked up' Hawke's Bay drinkers

By DOUG LAING

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Late-night and early morning parking bans are likely on Ahuriri's wharf to curb "tanked up" youths storming the streets near the popular bar quarter.

Napier City Council's Regulatory Committee adopted a report recommending the ban at a meeting this week. It proposed parking be banned from 11pm-5am on Friday and Saturday nights, as an attack on a problem councillor Mark Herbert attributed to "pre-loaded" young revellers drinking in and around vehicles, breaching the area's liquor ban.

Mr Herbert, an apartment dweller in the area who also operates East Pier Bar and Bistro on Hardinge Rd's seafront, said the revellers converged from the south late at night, already "tanked-up" but sitting in vehicles drinking from supplies bought from supermarkets and bottle stores elsewhere in the city. He said young drinkers concealed their cans and bottles when police were present, and when officers moved on the cans and bottles were out again and the party continued.

"It's out of control," Mr Herbert said. He claimed masses of cartons, bottles, cans and other evidence of what had gone during the night were left strewn on the ground.

His morning walks through the area were through what he described as a "septic hole".

"It's disgusting sometimes."

Turning to the parking prohibition, he asked: "How's it going to be enforced? The police can't even enforce the ban we've got now."

Councillor Keith Price, a former police officer who also owns the Thirsty Whale bar backed the parking prohibition, saying: "To remove the boot parties is outstanding ... but the problem is when people leave the bars around 3am to 3.30am, they have nowhere to go.

"A few undesirables hang around across the road, and no one would want to go over there."

Regulatory services manager Mike Webster said bar owners and police raised the issue of the general environment in front of the bars this year at a meeting of the Ahuriri Alcohol Accord, and the parking ban had become the preferred option.

He said better provision for taxis was proposed, with a desire from companies to have a pick-up zone towards the southern end of the wharf. They would focus on post-11pm pick-up in that area as the plan was trialled during the next six months. Mayor Barbara Arnott said parking would remain a problem until the council could develop parking areas behind the bars.

Signage would be put in place and bar management and staff would be involved in keeping patrons aware of the ban.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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