Link loans to behaviour

Dunedin's deputy mayor is calling for student loans to be tied to lawful behaviour following a third year of Undie 500 chaos in North Dunedin.

Cr Syd Brown made the suggestion yesterday, saying it should be among new measures considered in an effort to crack down on unruly Castle St crowds.

"It could be a condition of student loans [that] from now on you have to be a law-abiding citizen," he said.

Other city councillors contacted yesterday appear divided over how best to respond to the street disorder.

Crs Dave Cull and Neil Collins said they now supported investigating the staging of an organised event at Logan Park, which was owned by the council.

Cr Cull said such an event could involve dumping truckloads of sand on the field, a bonfire organised and a band arranged, with controls.

"If [the Undie 500] is going to happen, if there's no legal way of stopping them, maybe consideration should be given to have an organised event that would absorb those energies," he said.

Cr Collins said Logan Park could be a suitable location, as it was close to the university and student accommodation.

"I think that's a suggestion that's worth progressing.

"Maybe the council could help organise that."

Cr Andrew Noone was more circumspect, but said it was clear something needed to change.

"I think our arm is being twisted to do more.

"Up until last weekend, I would have said we had done enough, but we do need to rethink in light of what's happened.

"If that means there are alternative activities organised, so be it.

"If the alternative plan means we are going to come down harder on the perpetrators, then let's do that."

Cr Paul Hudson said he had previously supported staging an organised event.

It was clear a temporary Dunedin North liquor ban "just doesn't work", but demand for an organised event would need to be ascertained first, or it could be an "unknown quantity", he said.

However, Cr Brown was firm in his belief greater enforcement was needed, saying he "fully" supported Mayor Peter Chin's stance when he said the rally was not welcome in Dunedin.

He wanted to know what options were available to the council for new laws, bylaws or other powers to combat the antisocial behaviour, including investigating whether student loans could be tied to lawful behaviour.

There was no room "whatsoever" for an organised event associated with the Undie 500 rally in Dunedin.

"What are they going to do once the event finishes? It's just going to transfer [problems] to a later time of night."

Cr Fliss Butcher also supported linking student loans with good behaviour, and said she wanted to investigate how lessons learned tackling football hooliganism in England could be applied in Dunedin.

Cr Bill Acklin also took a hard line, suggesting police should have arrested everyone on Castle St.

Other councillors could not be contacted or did not return calls.


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