Action on BYO 'bullies'

Drunken, bullying young people have prompted authorities and restaurants to clamp down on BYO drinking sessions in Dunedin.

An accord, which aims to curtail excessive drinking habits and turn restaurants back into ''places for dining rather than places for alcohol consumption'', was unveiled by police and the Southern District Health Board yesterday.

About 20 premises which allow BYO - customers bringing their own alcohol - have signed the accord.

Alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin said the accord was developed by police, liquor licensing inspectors and the health board after ongoing reports of drunken misbehaviour at BYOs by people he said were students.

''A lot of them [licensees] have English as a second language and they can't control intimidation by a large group of students,'' he said.

''A large group of 15 to 20 students, reasonably boisterous, they can easily intimidate our licensees.''

As the groups became more intoxicated they became belligerent and bullied staff at the restaurants, he said.

''It's been an issue raised in the last three to four years, but anecdotally we have heard about it for the past decade,'' Sgt Paulin said.

''It's part of the student drinking culture. It's a student drinking culture that seems to be reasonably isolated to Dunedin.''

Some restaurants had been using the rules of the accord - which included limiting patrons to one bottle of wine per two people and banning drinking games - for several months and found it successful.

The accord was ''empowering'' licensees, he said.

Otago University Students' Association president Paul Hunt said the accord was created without the consultation of students.

''The accord is jumping the gun on the multi-stakeholder group that has united to address problem drinking in Dunedin and would have better served through more a more consultative process,'' he said.

''OUSA believes that more should to be done to make on-licence establishments more attractive, affordable and accessible to young people, as they are the safest environment for the consumption of alcohol.''

It was positive to ''encourage sensible consumption of alcohol'' and he believed ''to a degree BYO establishments support this through the provision of both food and drink''.

SDHB health promotion adviser Toni Paterson said 20 licensees had already signed the

agreement and more would join in coming weeks.

The development of the accord followed a meeting of licensees, police and health board staff earlier this year.

''Quite often, young people were bringing in a lot of alcohol. Often, they had already been drinking and then being quite belligerent and difficult for the licensees to manage,'' she said.

''The licensees quite often have English as a second language and some people took advantage of that being loud and abusive.''

The behaviour was ''unpleasant'' for the licensees and those wanting to have a meal at the restaurants, she said.

Alcohol-caused hospital admissions cost the health board at least $7.39million every year and a quarter of Southern residents drank to hazardous levels, Ms Paterson said.


Dunedin BYO accord

Expected standards:

• BYO limits of four standard drinks for women and five standard drinks for men. One bottle of wine per two people as BYO.

• All bottles must be sealed.

• BYO is only allowed with main meals.

• No drinking games allowed.

• After brought alcohol is finished, patrons can buy alcohol from the restaurant, as long as they are not nearing intoxication.

• Wine glasses will be provided only to patrons who have ID.

• Intoxicated people will not be allowed to enter premises.

• Patrons will be monitored frequently for their intoxication level.

• Patrons nearing intoxication will not be allowed any more alcohol.

• Intoxicated people will be required to leave.

• Water will be continually offered.


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