Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Council out to tackle booze 'pre-loading'

Public spaces in the most affected areas are being targeted. Picture / Dean
Purcell
Public spaces in the most affected areas are being targeted. Picture / Dean Purcell

Five hotspots where people park in cars to "pre-load" on booze before going to clubs and bars will be targeted in a crackdown on central city drunks.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown yesterday promised immediate efforts to combat drunken louts who are tarnishing his vision for Auckland as one of the world's most liveable cities.

Yesterday, a mayoral taskforce representing the council, central city business and resident groups, Maori and ethnic groups and churches met for the first time and drew up a nine-point action plan.

One priority will be to target five "pre-loading" hotspots at four carparks in the central city and a series of streets off Karangahape Rd.

Auckland City central area police commander Inspector Andrew Coster said the hotspots could be managed by the use of security staff, closing sections of carparks, better lighting, and issuing people with trespass notices. Streets behind Karangahape Rd could be made permit-only parking for residents.

Mr Brown said there was a real problem with "pre-loading" that needed to be addressed, and the behaviour of those spilling onto the street after leaving bars also needed to be dealt with.

"We want this place to be a fun place and safe," Mr Brown said.

He also called on the Government to pass the Alcohol Reform Bill so the council could introduce local alcohol policy. At the moment the council and police are limited in what they can do, unable to introduce such things as on-the-spot fines for breaching liquor bans.

Mr Coster said one of the big problems was people coming into town after suburban bars closed and going from bar to bar.

A one-way door policy to stop people coming and going through the night would help, he said.

He did not think more police on the beat in the city would make a difference because policies needed to deal with problems that lay behind high levels of intoxication.

"I'm really confident that as we get in place the right local alcohol policy, the changes that are coming with the legislation and the other initiatives we are talking about today that we will get some traction," Mr Coster said.

Alex Swney of Heart of the City said a one-way door policy made good business sense for bars.

DRINKING HOTSPOTS
* Mercury Lane, Galatos St, Cross St, Day St, Poynton Tce (all off Karangahape Rd)
* Tournament Parking and Wilson Parking, Durham Lane
* Wilson Parking, Elliot St
* Wilson Parking and Tournament Parking, Fort St

Taskforce action plan
* Voluntary one-way door policies.
* Better alignment between trading hours and public transport.
* More community-based patrols, including Maori, Pacific and Asian wardens.
* Better car park lighting and parking limits targeting five 'pre-loading' hot spots.
* Instant fines for breaching liquor bans.
* Improved management of queues.
* Stop sale of single-shot drinks.
* Increased visibility of security officers.
* More co-operation between council liquor licensing staff and police.

- NZ Herald

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