Dunedin police officers are monitoring the city's student quarter in large numbers as St Patrick's Day has become an event rivalling New Year's Eve in terms of intoxication.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen said the annual Irish celebration has become a siren song for drunkenness in the southern city.
"As far as drunkenness goes it's probably worse than New Year's Eve. It's just a binge drink day - and it's started already. It started at 8am this morning; people were already dressed in green, drinking, walking down the street."
"It's not what St Patrick's is about but we seem to be taking it to the umpteenth degree."
Dunedin police had noticed it growing in scale every year and intoxication occurring earlier in the day.
Last year a massive student party was held just down the road from a school which was closed after a student tested positive for coronavirus.
An outbreak of the mumps was also running through the city's student community.
Dinnissen said police were aware of large parties planned for today, with one expected to attract 500 revellers in North Dunedin.
Officers were thankful students were letting them know parties were planned, and as a result they would be taking an "engage and educate" approach to dealing with them.
"If the party gets out of control and beyond the capacity holding it, we'll shut it down. But we work with the people that do register to make sure it's a safe party," Dinnissen said.
Police were most concerned about the level of intoxication which accompanied the day's festivities.
"They're now down to the fact that you get more alcohol per serve in a bottle compared to in a can, so ... they purchase by standard drinks. All it is is financial, they want more alcohol for less money and unfortunately glass is the cheaper option."
That created issues with broken glass, so Dinnissen had a simple message for revellers.
"Just make sure you're not going to extremes. The broken glass thing is chronic ... don't smash glass."