Council's decision to cancel Mount Maunganui's New Year's event could spark out-of- control beach parties, a security worker says.
The worker told the Bay of Plenty Times that Tauranga City Council officials and police were in denial if they did not think alcohol-fuelled revellers would not hit the beaches this New Year's Eve.
The man, who spoke on the condition he was not named, said he had learned that a group of people planned to hold their own beach parties, after council canned the organised New Year's celebrations amid safety concerns.
"Police are pretty naive if they don't think this is going to happen. There's going to be glass bottles and mess up and down the beach. Watch this space," he said.
Conor Corbett, 24, said he had spent most of his New Year's celebrations at his family's Marine Parade bach and thoroughly enjoyed the council-organised event.
Mr Corbett said he could not say he was hugely disappointed by the cancellation.
"My main concern is that if the New Year's celebrations are no longer cordoned off in one area it will be hard to police, especially with thousands of people pouring into the Mount."
Papamoa Unlimited vice-chairman David Hill said he backed the council decision.
"I have never understood council spending so much money on one event ... when there were so many other options, it just didn't make sense," he said.
Council spokesperson said last year's event cost $252,000 and the forecasted cost of holding this year's event with proposed enhanced city operations and proactive safety measures was $692,000.
This New Year's council would invest solely in safety measures at Mount Maunganui at a forecasted cost of $440,000, the spokesperson said.
The measures included traffic management, lighting of dark areas and the beach, fencing vulnerable areas, security and Red Frogs (specially trained young people to provide peer support) to support police and other emergency services.
Mr Hill said the cancellation of the usual event created opportunities for other organisations and businesses to get involved and come up with alternative events.
It was possible people might try to organise their own beach parties, but he was not concerned as long as they were well managed, he said.
Marine Parade resident Shane Dwight said he did not believe cancelling the organised concert was going to make a huge difference.
"I'm concerned. I have walked this area at 10.30pm or 11pm on New Year's Eve when the concerts were on and have seen a hundreds of drunk young people, many who were aggressive and lots of others were scantily dressed. I don't think stopping the event is going to change where these young people will choose to congregate.
"It doesn't seem for many of these young people that the music or entertainment was the reason they turned up ... It's still going to need quite a lot of security and police to help keep a lid on everything," he said.
Mount Maunganui/Papamoa ward councillor Leanne Brown said after speaking to police during a recent private briefing, she was satisfied council made the right decision.
"It was a tough decision and a lot of factors were taken into account, but one that had to be made to help safeguard the majority of people who attend these celebrations."
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless earlier said after hearing from emergency services he was not of a mind to revisit the decision to can the concert, however he thought it was worth looking at again in the future.
Western Bay police area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said when people were made well aware of the liquor ban bylaw the majority of people did abide by it.
"At the end of the day we want people to enjoy themselves and have a safe New Year's. It's in everyone's interest that everyone makes sure they are keep themselves well informed about the bylaw and the consequences of not abiding by it."