Hassle over Dunedin booze views

A woman who complained about drunk and disorderly Dunedin students says she's been harassed in person and online since appearing on TV.

Dunedin resident Carol Devine appeared on the Sunday programme to voice concerns about excessive, destructive drinking habits in the city.

Ms Devine said within five minutes of appearing on TV One two days ago, people were yelling at her from a car outside her home.

Every twenty minutes people started yelling "Carol, Carol" and beeping, as well as taking photos of her house and texting the pictures to their friends, Ms Devine told Radio New Zealand.

She said concerned residents had lobbied police for years to extend a liquor ban and she was not alone in raising concerns about bacchanalian behaviour.

The Dunedin resident and businesswoman said she'd also been attacked on social media.

"I cannot understand this social media campaign I'm up against," she told the radio station.

"Clearly those that are behind it did not watch the show and did not actually grasp the fact it's the excessive drinking we are concerned about. No one was saying ‘don't party, don't drink'."

She said some students paid "top dollar" to get away from excessive boozing.

Ms Devine said the party atmosphere in Dunedin had degenerated over the years. "It's become nothing but anarchy now."

Ten organisations signed a joint statement yesterday to address the binge drinking culture in parts of the city.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the statement, "Dunedin North Issues", marked a new approach to tackling the city's drinking culture.

The statement, released yesterday, said "pressing action" was needed to keep young people safe, curb excesses of alcohol-fuelled behaviour, and protect the livelihoods of Dunedin businesses and tertiary education institutions.

"There's a general feeling that the culture needs to move, needs to change a bit," Mr Cull said.

Police, tertiary institutions, hospitality associations, and the Dunedin City Council and students' associations signed the statement.

Mr Cull said each organisation would suggest potential solutions.

"I don't think we've ever had all those people in the room before, but more to the point, I don't think we've had them all come out and say: ‘We all agree on this'."

The next step was another meeting to discuss the solutions, including "environmental improvement and support for socialising alternatives."

The statement was issued the day after the Sunday programme's segment on Dunedin drinking.

The organisations met in March to discuss the problem, after which the statement was drawn up.

Ideas included improving the quality of events at Forsyth Barr Stadium and improving street design and amenity features in North Dunedin, Mr Cull said.

Meanwhile, more than 2400 people yesterday signed an online petition calling for TVNZ to apologise for the Sunday segment.

An Otago University student started the petition and called the segment "biased" and "damaging" to the reputation of Dunedin and Otago University.

The petition asked TVNZ to apologise "for portraying students in a negative manner, and reporting on only the negative part of the student culture".

A TVNZ spokeswoman said the network stood by the segment.
"Students and residents were both represented in the story, from which people will make up their own minds," she said.



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