Stricter measures for hostel after party

A hostel in Queenstown has implemented stricter lockdown measures after police were called to reports of a large party in a park on Sunday.

Otago Coastal commander Inspector Olaf Jensen said when officers arrived at Rotary Park, the gathering moved inside to Deco Backpackers on Lake St.

Police believed roughly 60 people were involved about 5.45pm.

Insp Jensen said police advised the manager that guests needed to stay in their allocated rooms and the room and the people in it were considered a bubble, not the entire hostel.

"The manager was also advised that a roster needed to be established for the use of any communal facilities."

Deco Backpackers put out a statement on its Facebook page that said management was distressed and saddened.

The hostel said it had organically become long-term worker accommodation and guests had been together for an extended period of time and were in their own bubble.

Management denied suggestions it was a party and said long-term guests were enjoying the weather with drinks in the backyard, which spilled slightly into the park.

"We acknowledge that they were being irresponsible, but in their eyes, they were doing nothing wrong. They were sticking to their bubble."

The hostel owners admitted it was their responsibility to ensure guests followed the lockdown rules and promised a firmer hand in future.

"We had measures in place. They were broken, and after becoming aware about the gathering and resultant police callout, we began changes immediately."

Parties were already banned, curfews were in place and guests were expected to clean.

The hostel said it would report any guests not following lockdown rules to the appropriate authorities.

"We are as concerned and disappointed as all of you are. This situation is under control, and is being handled by the proper authorities."

Management said no members of the public were present.

matthew.mckew@odt.co.nz

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