Booze clampdown yields results

By Andrew Koubaridis

Statistics show moves to rid Auckland City of its liquor-fuelled reputation seem to be working.

Council officers have liaised with private landowners for liquor bans while a blanket trespass approval has been implemented and security firms are making regular patrols. Photo / Dean Purcell
Council officers have liaised with private landowners for liquor bans while a blanket trespass approval has been implemented and security firms are making regular patrols. Photo / Dean Purcell

It's been three months since Auckland Mayor Len Brown vowed to tackle central city drunkenness - so what has changed?

The mayor started a taskforce of council, police, business and hospitality industry leaders to address the rapidly growing reputation the city centre was getting for booze-related violence.

At the time he said he didn't want to prejudge what conclusions the taskforce would reach, but yesterday he said measures put in place were already having an effect.

Since the crackdown on drunken louts was launched, car parks identified by the taskforce as "preloading hotspots" have seen a decrease in revellers getting drunk in cars before they hit the city's clubs and pubs.

Council officers have liaised with private landowners for liquor bans while a blanket trespass approval has been implemented and security firms are making regular patrols.

In addition, the council said 71 of the 80 bottle stores in the downtown area had voluntarily agreed to stop single-bottle sales and there had been a fivefold decrease in liquor ban breaches, from 549 to 112.

"Aucklanders and visitors alike should be able to have a safe and enjoyable experience in the city centre. I am confident that the measures we are taking are already showing results," Mr Brown said.

Regular checks were being made on licensed premises and those revealed a compliance rate of 94 per cent.

The Auckland Council City Watch has seen a 50 per cent decrease in antisocial behaviour with fighting and liquor ban breaches reduced from 109 to 57 incidents.

Mr Brown said a close eye was also being kept on queues forming outside nightspots to make the footpaths safer at nights.

Before the taskforce was started he said fewer serious assaults were a good start but he was determined more work needed to be done for the "sake of our citizens and visitors".

"Statistics showing alcohol-related offending in the Auckland City police district relatively unchanged over the past five months is yet another reason for the Government to progress the Alcohol Reform Bill.

"Communities need to have more say in the regulation of alcohol in their areas."

Concern about violence and alcohol in the central city reignited this year after scenes of people vomiting, urinating and fighting emerged as police bosses and politicians toured the streets to see the extent of the problem for themselves.

Tackling the cause

Central city booze crackdown
* 71 of 80 bottle stores stop single bottle sales
* Liquor ban breaches fall from 549 to 112
* "Pre-loading" in car parks drops
* Reports of fighting and antisocial behaviour to council halves from 109 incidents to 57.

- NZ Herald

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