Beers on the beach blocked by booze ban extension

Photos: Tracey Roxburgh
Photos: Tracey Roxburgh
Christmas beers on Queenstown Beach have been banned after police prompted councillors to extend its booze ban due to horror stories from previous years.

Cr Quentin Smith said police and other agencies reported "very intoxicated people being carried away having defecated on themselves".

He was speaking during a Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting yesterday at which there was a unanimous decision to bring the existing public drinking ban forward two days to include Christmas Day.

Drinking in Queenstown and Wanaka CBDs would now be prohibited between 8am on Christmas Day and January 6.

Cr Smith said it was not about stopping people from having fun but "removing the potential for alcohol-related harm" after hearing shocking stories.

He said the harbour master had also warned of the potential risk around drunk people and the lakes.

Queenstown Beach has for many years attracted hundreds of people having an "orphan’s Christmas" — a nod to the resort’s strong immigrant and backpacker community.

Cr Valerie Miller said banning alcohol consumption in public areas would not combat a growing problem with "party pills", a sentiment echoed by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult.

This week Queenstown police made six arrests related to drug dealing and the mayor commended officers for their work.

A similar ban on public drinking was introduced to Queenstown for Crate Day after antisocial behaviour and littering got out of hand in 2016.

Cr Glyn Lewers raised concerns the council was playing "wack-a-mole" by not covering all public spaces in the district with the ban.

Council parks and open spaces planning manager Briana Pringle said there had been little issue with other areas on Crate Day, although some people had taken to drinking in Sunshine Bay.

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