‘Crate day’ slammed at hearing

A Queenstown Lakes councillor said "crate day" is "not a Kiwi institution" at a hearing yesterday considering submissions on a proposed public alcohol ban in Queenstown.

Cr Penny Clark voiced her opinion to the alcohol ban bylaw 2018 hearing panel.

The panel heard oral submissions from NZ Police, the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) and the Wanaka Alcohol Group, all supporting the proposed bylaw, which effectively bans gatherings in public areas for Crate Day — a national drinking day in December.

Alcohol harm prevention Sergeant Tracy Haggart, of Queenstown, said the town’s waterfront was "becoming Queenstown’s largest garden bar".

Alcohol harm prevention Sergeant Tracy Haggart (left), of Queenstown, with Dr Marion Poore of the...
Alcohol harm prevention Sergeant Tracy Haggart (left), of Queenstown, with Dr Marion Poore of the Southern District Health Board, after the alcohol ban bylaw 2018 hearing in Queenstown yesterday. Photo: Joshua Walton

The police submission called for a total ban on public drinking all year round in the CBD and at public reserves.

The proposed bylaw would also ban events and promotions similar to Crate Day, which Sgt Haggart said could involve extending restrictions to cover Christmas.

It seeks to extend the year-round ban on drinking on streets and public areas, to run from 8pm to 8am, instead of beginning at 10pm.

Cr Clark said she was concerned Crate Day celebrations might spread to other areas, such as Sunshine Bay, if the bylaw was introduced.

One arrest was made there at last year’s event, after a temporary drinking ban was implemented in the CBD.

Cr Clark also questioned calls to rename the bylaw "alcohol free zone bylaw", saying it could give some tourists the impression alcohol was free in those areas.

Dr Marion Poore, medical officer of health at the SDHB, said the name change would be "less intimidating".

"People don’t really like being told what to do and the term ban focuses on the one thing you can’t do in that area."

The council received a dozen submissions supporting the proposed bylaw.

Fourteen submissions opposed both changes, 16 were opposed to the Crate Day ban and 30 opposed to the extension.

The panel will make recommendations to the council on the proposed bylaw next month.

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