Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Booze-free Christmas in the Park sparks debate

Santa at Christmas in the Park. File photo / NZ Herald
Santa at Christmas in the Park. File photo / NZ Herald

The decision to make the 20th Coca Cola Christmas in the Park a booze-free event has outraged many people who had planned to attend the event with their usual stash of snacks and wine.

It was announced yesterday that police, Auckland Council and Coca Cola had agreed to a complete alcohol ban for Saturday night's event "in an effort to improve levels of safety in and around the event and neighbouring suburbs before, during and after its conclusion".

"Christmas in the Park is the only public event where alcohol has traditionally been permitted to be brought in and consumed there. By making it alcohol free, it falls into line with all other such public events," said Auckland City District Police Commander, Superintendent Mike Clement.

Many concert-goers took to the internet to complain about the decision, with one describing the new-look event as "nana Christmas in the park" and another branding it dull.

"No BYO beer or wine this year. What's a Christmas party without a drink?" said one person on a Trademe message forum.

On talkback radio programmes, parents were angry they could not have a festive tipple when they took their children to the event. Some said they would not attend as a result.
But the move has also been supported by many park-goers.

"I support the Xmas in the Park liquor ban. It'll be a nice change for kids to see people able to enjoy an event without the need for booze," said one man on Twitter.

What do you think? Will you attend the event now that it's liquor-free? Email anna.leask@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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