Queenstown police slam Aussie drunks

By James Beech of the Otago Daily Times

A view of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Photo / Sarah Ivey
A view of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Queenstown police's patience for drunken young Australian men behaving badly in the resort is wearing thin.

Police dealt with seven on Friday and Saturday, including one man who had to be rescued after he undressed and jumped into the Kawarau River while on a commercial jet boat ride.

Police were "once again seeing a recurrence of high intoxication among our Australian guests and it's beginning to wear a bit thin", Sergeant Keith Newell said.

"The common denominator is these young ones have had far too much alcohol and constantly find themselves in situations they can't handle. They need to have a look at themselves and how much alcohol they're drinking.

"Bearing in mind, it's only a small number of our Australian visitors. We don't tend to deal with the thousands of other nice Australians, just the ones who break the law or make a state of themselves."

* A 33-year-old man was arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour when he allegedly refused to leave the Fergburger burger outlet because he was "grossly intoxicated" on Friday night.

Mr Newell said the man went next door to Fergbaker and ate another patron's pie. He refused to give details when police officers spoke to him and he was arrested.

The man brought the pie back up while in custody, Mr Newell said.

* A 27-year-old Australian man on board a Thunder Jet boat ride with about 15 other passengers jumped into the Kawarau River on Saturday.

The boat stopped on the river after it performed a spin as part of the trip. The man stood up from his seat, walked to the bow of the boat, took his clothes and jewellery off and threw them in the river, then jumped into the freezing cold water, Mr Newell said.

"Good work and quick thinking by Thunder Jet staff. [They] called for assistance from the harbour master and other Thunder Jet staff . Police took him to Lakes District Hospital where he was referred to mental health services."

* A pair of drunk Australian brothers aged 20 and 24 were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour after one of the brothers allegedly threw a punch at a bar doorman at 1am yesterday.

* Two Australian men aged 27 were given a pre-charge warning by police for allegedly causing a disturbance in a backpackers' hostel at 5.10am yesterday.

The drunk men allegedly played loud music and refused repeated requests to leave the dormitory room. They were "both arrogant and refused to listen" when spoken to by police, then arrested, Mr Newell said.

* A "grossly intoxicated" 30-year-old Australian man was found asleep in the middle of the floor of the terminal building of Queenstown Airport at 7am yesterday. A member of the public called the police.

Mr Newell said the man "had no idea how he got there" and claimed he couldn't get a room in Queenstown, so he decided to sleep it off in the airport.

Over the past six weeks, Queenstown police have dealt with dozens of intoxicated Australians, mostly men. They have been charged with offences ranging from from assault and breaking and entering and fighting in public.

Mr Newall said he had noticed an increase in the number of Australians arrested this winter season compared to past years.

"Certainly this year the charge sheets would suggest we have an increase in the number of Australians arrested for alcohol related incidences."

- Otago Daily Times

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