Those who help teens hold unsupervised parties where alcohol is served could be liable for criminal charges, local police warn ahead of the school ball season in Rotorua.
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said there was potential for a number of people to face sanctions if teens were caught drinking and unsupervised at an organised after-ball party.
"A venue operator who has leased their building to students for an after-party where the students then sell, buy, supply or drink alcohol, is one of the people who could be liable if the students are caught."
Every year, we stress to students and parents that after the ball students should go home but, as past years prove, that's not always the case.
SHARE THIS QUOTE:
Parents holding an open party (publicly advertised with no pre-sold tickets or limitations on who can attend) where alcohol is being supplied could also be in breach of the law.
Mr Horne said some parents were unable to say no.
"There is pressure to host after-parties during the ball season and many parents cave, believing it is a rite of passage. It's not, after-parties are a new occurrence and are unnecessary.
"A lot of parents are naive about the harm that can come from these parties. We often have [parents] coming to us afterwards saying the party got out of control, their house was trashed and it was a huge mistake."
Mr Horne emphasised that, while teen parties were highlighted around the school ball season, it was an issue happening year round.
"Ball season is not the only time we are having issues with out-of-control, teen parties. We need to help change the attitudes of our youth who think 'we're young, we're meant to do stupid things, it's okay' because it's not okay and these things don't end well."
Read more: Rotorua's most violent hotspot
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh told the Rotorua Daily Post his school had not had issues for the past few years but was not relaxing its strict policy.
"We don't know of any after-parties being organised this year but, if they were, John Paul College would not endorse or support them.
"All we can do is suggest to parents and students that the ball should be the main event of the night and at midnight [students] should just go home."
Rotorua Lakes High School principal Bruce Walker said the school would not allow students to use its name for any organised parties.
"We don't want the school being dragged into the issues that come with after-parties.
"Every year, we stress to students and parents that after the ball students should go home but, as past years prove, that's not always the case.
"We've been lucky there haven't been any issues for the past four or five years but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be another uneventful ball season."
Mr Walker said he would like to see venue operators stop hiring to students for after-parties.