Police in Otago have already wielded new powers aimed at
curbing alcohol-related disorder and at least three people in
the region have been given infringement notices for breaching
The infringement notices come after the Sale and Supply of
Alcohol Act was introduced last week.
Despite the Friday before Christmas traditionally being one
of the busiest nights of the year for drunken disorder,
police and emergency services across the region said it was
An Englishwoman and a Canadian woman, aged in their late 20s,
became the first people in Queenstown to be punished by the
new national alcohol laws, on Friday at 11.25pm.
Sergeant Steve Watt, of Queenstown, said yesterday the
''unco-operative and belligerent'' women were arrested for
breaching the downtown liquor ban, after they refused to hand
over their alcohol or give details to police.
The women were fined $250 each under new police powers.
''They are a good example of the changes in action in
''Extra powers for police gives us a wide variety of tools to
deal with offences and the people who offend,'' Sgt Watt
The only other alcohol-related offences in the Wakatipu over
the weekend involved alleged 18-year-old male drink-drivers.
Police issued their first infringement notice for breaching
the Oamaru liquor ban.
A 20-year-old Oamaru man received a $250 instant fine for
having alcohol in Thames St about 10.20pm on Friday.
Despite a busy Friday night in Wanaka, and a large number of
Christmas functions, police had only a couple of minor
disorder-related incidents to deal with, Constable Dion Phair
''On the whole, the word's starting to get around [the bars]
and people are being refused entry because of intoxication
levels,'' Const Phair said.
''I think the general behaviour's been pretty good and it
seems like the duty managers in the pubs have been on board
with it, as well.''
The new laws gave bar staff ''more ammunition'' to deny
people entry or service.
''The definition of intoxication and the ability to identify
who's intoxicated and who's not, has been more clearly
defined for both us and them,'' he said.
St John southern region operations manager Doug Third said
Friday night was relatively incident-free in Dunedin.
It was too early to say what impact the new alcohol laws
might be having, but any measures which reduced
alcohol-related harm were a good thing, he said.
Changes to liquor laws include. -
• Off-licences must close by 11pm.
• Bars must close at 4am.
• Police will be able to issue alcohol infringement notices
for a range of new offences, including breach of local
alcohol bans, lending ID to an under-18-year-old, and
presenting a fake ID ($250 per offence).
• Bars that serve intoxicated people, or allow them to remain
on the premises, risk a fine of up to $10,000.
• Police will use an ''alcohol assessment tool'' to assess
whether a person is merely under the influence of alcohol or
''intoxicated'' as defined in the Act