Local police have come up with a new scheme to take on the might of social media, attempting to quash an event that is largely organised online.
Crate Day gatherings, where people get together in a public place to drink alcohol on the “first weekend of summer” have resulted in increasing disorder, since they started on the Hibiscus Coast in 2013.
This summer police hope to nip it in the bud and convinced the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board to help them by placing a temporary alcohol ban on all beaches and adjoining reserves from Hatfields Beach and Orewa Beach down the length of Whangaparaoa Peninsula to Army Bay on December 2 and 3.
In the past the event has been held at Manly or Stanmore Bay beaches.
Rodney Area Commander Inspector Mark Fergus told the board that last year 29 arrests were made for disorder such as fighting and assault. One young woman was seriously assaulted and another had severe alcohol poisoning after consuming “several litres of hard liquor”.
Inspector Fergus said that as well as the obnoxious behaviour such as urinating and swearing, there was damage to private property, particularly in Manly, and wine was stolen. A massive cleanup was required afterwards with what one Manly resident described as “a mountain of rubbish, broken glass, empty bottles and wrecked gazebos” left behind.
The liquor ban will enable police to stop the gathering before the disorder begins because people will not be able to bring alcohol to those locations during the ban.
Inspector Fergus said Crate Day could potentially shift to an alternative location or date but police think that is unlikely. He said it could still take place if someone wanted to hold it on private property but that the public should not have to put up with it on reserves and beaches any longer.
Police are also speaking to local liquor store owners and the promoters, The Rock radio station.
The event is held nationwide and the local board was told that recently Queenstown Lakes District Council instituted a similar alcohol ban to try and prevent it, but over a far smaller area.
Local board chair Julia Parfitt described the police’s request for such an extensive ban as “unusual”. However, the board agreed to it because it was only for one year while police assess how successful it is.
Ratepayers are covering the cost of around $3500 for signs to advise of the temporary ban – Council staff say these need to be placed at every point of access to a beach or reserve, so many signs are needed.