A liquor ban to coincide with "Crate Day'' is being mooted for Queenstown.

This year's Crate Day event coincides with the 2017 league Nines Carnival, being held at the Queenstown Recreation Ground - an area the council has proposed to include in a temporary ban area on December 2 and 3.

In a report to this week's full council meeting, regulatory manager Lee Webster said the request for the 48-hour temporary liquor ban had come from the police.

It was being sought to prevent a repeat of "high levels of disorder" which occurred in the resort as part of last year's Crate Day event.


Crate Day is an unofficial event in which participants consume a crate of beer during the first weekend of summer.

It had been held for several years, but police had noticed a "significant uplift" in the number of people congregating in public places in the district to consume "large amounts of alcohol" since 2015, Webster's report said.

The gatherings had caused "significant issues of disorder and placed a strain on police resources".

Last year, a group of young people began drinking alcohol on the Village Green, in Queenstown's CBD, from mid-morning, the report said.

"By early afternoon the entire reserve was occupied with a large crowd drinking large quantities of alcohol, with crates of beer kept chilled in Horne Creek."

The police said the crowd was initially good-natured, but during the afternoon police became concerned with "escalating disorder". This included "foul language" and deteriorating behaviour to the point police had serious concerns violence would occur. Police responded to several disorderly incidents, issued warnings and used "de-escalation techniques".

After the party bottles and rubbish were left strewn across the Village Green in Queenstown's CBD. Photo / Philip Chandler, Otago Daily Times
After the party bottles and rubbish were left strewn across the Village Green in Queenstown's CBD. Photo / Philip Chandler, Otago Daily Times

"The police say that they exercised restraint on this occasion and decided not to make arrests because of concerns that a strict application of the law to disorderly incidents might inflame the intoxicated crowd and lead to a wider disturbance."

Several members of the public also complained about feeling unsafe due to the crowd behaviour.

Following last year's event, there was a significant amount of alcohol-related litter left behind.

Webster's report said the police considered there was a "significant risk of a repeat or escalation" of the disorder this year. As such, extra police staff and resources had been commissioned from Invercargill and throughout the Otago region for December 2-3 and Queenstown-based officers had been re-rostered to ensure there was sufficient capacity to deal with "potentially large numbers of intoxicated persons occupying the town centre".

"Police have concerns that some of those attending the Nines Carnival will use the event as an opportunity to both watch the rugby league and consume alcohol in public as part of 'National Crate Day'.

"The police assess the likelihood of alcohol-related harm, including increased disorder and crime, from this combination of events to be high."

The proposed temporary ban area to be discussed by the council at its meeting on Thursday includes the Queenstown CBD, the Lake Wakatipu foreshore from the One Mile roundabout to Park St, the Queenstown Gardens and the Queenstown Rec Ground.