More trains and buses will be running in Auckland when new drinking laws begin next week.
The special early trains on Saturday and Sunday are a trial to coincide with the sweeping changes the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act will bring from December 18.
Auckland Transport says bus services will also run all night on the Northern Busway - but a final decision on whether they are permanent will depend on demand.
Thousands of revellers are expected in the central city on December 20, the last Friday before Christmas and the first after the changes come into effect.
Several sources within the hospitality industry have told the Herald they are concerned about transport options available for what is considered the busiest night of the year.
From next Wednesday, all on-licence premises will have to be closed by 4am and there will be a lower tolerance for intoxicated patrons. If drunks are found to be in bars, the licensee faces a $5000 fine.
The new act won't affect only what happens inside bars - police and the council will be able to impose conditions and reject a bar's licence for what occurs outside.
Inspector Gary Davey, of Auckland City police, said there were a whole range of measures that bars could be made to abide by, such as having a minimum number of security and rules around queue management.
"If it's a high-risk premises they would need some CCTV as well as [certain] training of staff and managers - that could be a condition of a licence."
Another example was placing restrictions on the number of drinks that could be sold to any one person.
But there wouldn't be a one-size-fits-all policy.
"A cafe opening to 10pm might be on different conditions to a bar trading to 4am in a high-risk zone where we know there is a lot of alcohol disorder.
"If we can show people are leaving a premises and drink-driving, and it continues after we've raised it with them, then the new act would allow us to either restrict or cancel their licence," Mr Davey said.
Auckland Council's manager of alcohol licensing, Rob Abbott, confirmed staff would be operating with new powers. "They will be able to report and comment on more issues relating to licensed premises."
I call it the seatbelt effect. I can remember my son at age 5 saying: "Dad, put your seatbelt on, or you'll die.'' With seatbelts and smoking, the government started educating children. Alcohol needs to be the same.
I am seeing ads on TV saying - don't go home and cook when you are pissed. But what's the real issue? I would binge-drink. My wife said to me once: "Why are your
good times around alcohol? They should be around life.''
I have come from a society (Italy) where drinking is in moderation. We need to address the real issue and change our education around drinking.