Police disappointed but not surprised

A number of fights broke out leaving people seriously injured on the early hours of Sunday morning. Photo / Supplied
A number of fights broke out leaving people seriously injured on the early hours of Sunday morning. Photo / Supplied

Police say the alcohol-fueled violence seen in Auckland's city centre on Saturday night was disappointing but not surprising.

Four large-scale fights broke out in the central business district (CBD) which resulted in two men being taken to hospital with serious injuries and the arrest of two people.

The men, aged 18 and 24, were rushed to Auckland City Hospital in a serious condition, following the fight which kicked off outside McDonald's Queen St in the Britomart area around 4.30am.

It is believed a simultaneous fight was also taking place at the ferry terminal on Quay St, around the intersection of Queen St and Quay St, at the same time.

Auckland district prevention manager, Inspector Gary Davey, said this type of violence was not unusual in the CBD, Karangahape Rd and Ponsonby.

"To varying degrees, some Thursday nights and most Friday and Saturday nights see alcohol-fueled violence characterised by serious assaults, fighting and disorder in the early hours of the morning," he said.

"While there has been a small improvement in alcohol-fuelled violence since bars started shutting at 4am, the level of intoxication and level of harm caused from abusing alcohol is still far too high and things need to change."

Inspector Davey said police were disappointed with the council's proposed on-license opening hours given the current levels of alcohol-related harm.

"We believe the council has a responsibility to reduce the unacceptable levels of intoxication and alcohol-related harm, yet the proposed closing hours of 4am in the CBD and 3am in the rest of the city allows the current level of harm to continue.

"There is a tipping point in the CBD around 1am when the fun and laughter takes a decidedly nasty turn with intoxication levels increasing and fights and assaults occurring in the same areas in the CBD," he said.

"You only need to look at Sydney, which has had similar issues to Auckland to see what difference a change in closing times can make."

Sydney introduced a 1.30am one way door policy in 2014 and closes all bars at 3am. Since the changes, issues related to alcohol harm have dropped 40 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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