Permission slip no pass for under-age drinking

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Hawke's Bay Police are concerned that parents are unaware of the legal risks involved with their children attending events where the consumption of alcohol is encouraged for under-age party goers.

Police were made aware of a Facebook event where organisers proposed that under 18-year-olds could bring their own alcohol to consume.

The organisers suggested a note from attendees' parents would be sufficient to make their event legally compliant.

Commercially run events of this type where there is a charge for entry and where BYO is allowed are unlawful.

The organiser of the event does not provide any contact details and is selling tickets through 'agents' who appear to be high school students.

Sergeant Ray Wylie, Police Alcohol Harm Prevention Officer for the Eastern District, says the event is misinforming young people and putting them at risk:

"At previous events of this type, we have seen young teenagers dangerously intoxicated to the point where they are unable to look after themselves.

"We encourage organisers to run parties without the inclusion of alcohol and encourage parents to take the same approach when choosing whether their child should attend.

"The organiser appears to be confusing his audience around the legalities of this event by including a reference to permission slips from parents.

"Permission slips do not save you from the $200 instant fine for being an unaccompanied minor consuming or possessing alcohol in a public place."

Sergeant Wylie says police have now identified the organiser and talked to him about the issues surrounding his event, including legal ramifications:

"The organiser claims to have received thousands of dollars and initially would not refund any money to planned party-goers."

Police advise caution when spending money on any products distributed via social media, particularly one with so many red flags.

Although the page has been removed from Facebook, it's unclear whether the organiser continues to advertise the event via other means.

"It would be highly disappointing to think that parents would knowingly allow their child to head off from home to an event like this involving alcohol. We work hard to prevent harm to young people every day and will do everything we can to prevent them getting into an unsafe situation due to alcohol."

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