A Tauranga City councillor wants to close a 7km beach liquor ban "loophole" after finding himself in the middle of a violent, alcohol-fueled brawl in Mount Maunganui.
Councillor Steve Morris said he decided to check out a complaint about a bonfire and party in the dunes in early November, having received a few past reports of "rowdy behaviour" in the area.
"Instead of there being five or six people that I could have approached and asked to them to 'keep it down', there were between 50-100 people drinking, yelling and shooting fireworks at each other."
Police, firefighters and paramedics were also present, he said.
"A fight broke out around my car [with Morris inside] with one person's head being smashed into a concrete block wall, another stomped on down on the ground."
Morris escaped unscathed but resolved to act.
"'Right! Enough of this nonsense', I thought. Our residents don't deserve this every weekend."
He has proposed a 9pm to 7am liquor ban along the almost 7km coastal strip from Grove Ave to Sandhurst Drive.
It was the only section of coastal strip "available for 24/7/365 imbibing", he said.
A permanent liquor ban is in place at Mount Maunganui North, an overnight ban east along Pāpāmoa Beach and one at Waiariki St.
He said the overnight ban provided a balance between the freedom for people to have a glass of wine on the beach with their fish and chips, and giving the police the "necessary power to curb behaviour before it gets out of hand".
Morris said after the council renewed its Alcohol Control Bylaw in September, residents pointed out the "loophole" around Omanu.
He hoped a temporary ban could be declared this summer and a permanent ban investigated and consulted on in the new year. The request would be raised at a Tauranga City Council meeting on Tuesday.
A council policy analyst said evidence of alcohol-related crime and disorder was needed to make a ban, and at the time the bylaw was reviewed there was not sufficient evidence for a ban in the Omanu area.
Sergeant Tristan Murray, officer in charge of the Pāpāmoa Police Station, said between October 5 and November 16 police were called to the beachline around Oceanbeach Rd, Maranui St and Sunrise Ave 14 times.
Most were reports of drunk youths at the beach, sometimes in large groups.
Murray supported "plugging the holes" in the coastal liquor ban and said there were ongoing issues with "out-of-control primarily underage beach parties".
Residents of the stretch reported finding hundreds of broken bottles and cans scattered on the beach after partygoers had dispersed, as well as smouldering fires and drunk or sleeping teens.
Papamoa and Mount Maunganui Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Bruce Banks said the organisation often received calls from members who had encountered groups of drinkers on the beach.
His advice was to never interfere and to notify the police.
He supported extending the liquor ban and said the overnight limit was a good place to start, and could be monitored over summer.
A Surf Rd resident of more than 20 years said drinkers on the beach and bonfires had been an issue for years, but there had been an increase in "yahooing" and drinking after dark.
The resident, who would not be named, said the loophole needed to be sorted out as it was a "family beach".
Oceanbeach Rd bed and breakfast owner Jim Robertson said he had not experienced too many issues with drinkers over his 16 years, but supported a liquor ban in Omanu.