Kelburn residents say they're the casualty of Victoria University and Wellington City Council pointing the finger at one another over student drinking culture.

The university and its students are fighting a proposed liquor ban at Kelburn Park.

A fountain there is a favourite haunt among students as they make their way from halls of residence into Wellington's night life.

The council has received almost 500 submissions on new liquor ban proposals, including the one at Kelburn, totalling 1715 pages.


Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association has taken credit for the majority of those submissions following its "Save Fountown" campaign.

The saga is a long-running one with local residents pushing for a liquor ban for years.

They have become fed up with students "screaming, yelling, urinating and vomiting" at the park.

In a submission to the council, Vic Neighbours member Nikola Koptisch said WCC was providing the university with a convenient venue where rubbish removal and vandalism repair came free of charge.

The essential issue is the university, whose students binge drink at the park, and WCC, the guardians of the park, both think it's the other side's problem, she said.

Both were failing to deliver on noise and disruption policies in the neighborhood, she said.

"The elected members of council owe it to the residents not to fob us off, again."

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association launched a campaign against the liquor ban called Save Fountown.
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association launched a campaign against the liquor ban called Save Fountown.

Koptisch said VUWSA's Save Fountown campaign showed students' sense of entitlement.

"[It] makes the assumption that it's their right to hold large, unsupervised, binge-drinking gatherings in a residential area with no consideration to neighbouring households."


Koptisch said police were letting residents down because it was near impossible to contact them on their non-urgent number.

Complaint record keeping was unreliable and should not be used as a guide to the level of disorder at the park, she said.

Inner City Wellington deputy chair Geraldine Murphy has written in support of those claims.

She said the university had exasperated the problem with what's known as a 10pm kick-out time for students drinking in its halls of residence.

Earlier this year Victoria University committed to a review of that policy.

"The university has a duty of care towards the students paying to be in their halls", Murphy said.

But Wellington City Youth Council is against the proposed liquor ban.

"Kelburn Park is seen by university students as an iconic place to be students and this would take this away from them", the youth council's submission reads.

"This proposed ban risks driving students into the bushy areas surrounding Kelburn Park to drink, which could have major safety risks for both those drinking and the general public."

Victoria University reports it has received 32 complaints about alcohol-related behaviour in the park between March 2016 and December 2018, with noise being the primary issue in all of them.

The university does note though that multiple calls about one event are listed as one complaint.

By comparison, Vic Neighbours lists 53 complaints to Victoria University in 2016 alone.

Wellington city councillors will today hear 18 oral submissions on proposed liquor bans in Kelburn Park and Kilbirnie.