Time to stop playing politics over drunk student problem

If University of Otago vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne and Mayor Dave Cull spent as much time and effort on actually addressing the problems associated with drunk students as they have with damage control and circling the wagons, we might see some positive change.

Prof Hayne's claim (Sunday, 10.5.15) that ''research on liquor bans is very, very mixed'', is a convenient euphemistic excuse for continuing to do nothing! It also is at odds with her 2012 Dunedin City Council submission supporting a ban!

''There might be merit in extending the ban beyond North Dunedin to include the entire city'', she said.

Also, ''they were shown to reduce disorder, increase public perceptions of safety and influence community norms''.

There are many places around the world where bans do work.

Parts of Australia have a $500 fine, and it seems to work very well.

Victoria University of Wellington halls of residence have recently banned alcohol as a result of drunken behaviour.

Mr Cull's comment to seek student ''buy-in'' is a similar cop-out.

On the recent Sunday programme, Prof Hayne makes out the issues here are part of a global problem with alcohol.

Nobody could dispute we have that as well.

But I find it amazing she can't see that Dunedin has unique problems associated with a now established and infamous binge-drinking culture and apartheid ghetto housing, the latter caused by extremely poor DCC planning.

What is extraordinary is that by directly sponsoring the private franchise professional football team, the Highlanders, Otago University is a co-sponsor along with Speight's and KFC.

This is an unholy alliance and shows just how far off track the university has become.

Unlike Dunedin, many university cities around the world have key staff living in the university precinct.

For example, Oxford and Cambridge.

Neither the vice-chancellor nor mayor live anywhere near the university/student area in Dunedin, and are therefore completely unaffected personally by the unruly behaviour.

This is also the case with Cr Andrew Whiley, who speaks so enthusiastically about the Hyde St party.

I would appeal to both Prof Hayne and Mr Cull to stop playing politics with this very serious matter.

Dunedin has become the laughing stock of New Zealand on several issues.

This latest one is a national embarrassment and will be exposed until it is fixed.

 Jeff Dickie featured on the Sunday programme.

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