Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Drinking ban extends to all of CBD

Proposal to outlaw liquor 24/7 in parks, cars, streets and cemetery to plug existing gaps

An extension to the liquor ban area would include the Wynyard Quarter. Photo / Natalie Slade
An extension to the liquor ban area would include the Wynyard Quarter. Photo / Natalie Slade

Auckland Council is sealing off the CBD against drinking in parks and in cars by extending a 24/7 liquor ban to include Symonds St Cemetery, Victoria Park and streets serving the Wynyard Quarter and the Tank Farm.

A proposed extension to the existing central city ban area will plug gaps in controls along the 6km waterfront spine from the Harbour Bridge to where Quay St meets The Strand.

It gives police the power to stop the "preloading" in public places that police say leads to a range of violent crimes later on in downtown night spots.

The extension, approved by council's regulatory and bylaws committee, is additional to "privately enforced" bans in entertainment areas such as the Jellicoe Precinct, Viaduct Harbour, Princes Wharf, the ferry terminal and Queens Wharf.

Here, council-controlled organisations hire security patrols who invite the police to eject the disorderly under the Trespass Act.

Although the mayoral taskforce reports improved behaviour since July with greater monitoring of licensed premises and stronger enforcement presence, Auckland Central Police asked for bans to cover the Wynyard and Victoria quarters to the west of Viaduct Harbour.

Area commander Inspector Andrew Coster said streets in the Wynyard Quarter attracted more drinkers now the Te Wero Bridge gave access to the CBD.

Victoria Park was used by some groups for drinking and was close to entertainment premises.

"We would exercise discretion and enforce intelligently to minimise harmful anti-social behaviour."

Temporary bans for the Rugby World Cup gave police a tool to deal with preloading and a thousand warnings were given in each October and November. The numbers went down to 200 in March but rose to 700 in August.

Since the cup, the council has reviewed the existing central city liquor ban area, which includes all streets and public places, council car parks and a night-only ban on Victoria Park. The review recommended extending the ban to the historic Symonds St Cemetery, including Pigeon Park.

Since the last council extension of the all hours ban in 2004, the cemetery and Victoria Park have become popular drinking areas for rough sleepers and homeless people who were barred from spots nearer the city centre.

- NZ Herald

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