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Holiday hotspot booze bans back

Alcohol will be banned from popular local hotspots in Wairarapa for the upcoming holiday period.

At its Wednesday meeting, Masterton District Council [MDC] unanimously approved the alcohol ban at Castlepoint and Riversdale for Labour weekend and over the New Year period.

The ban, imposed in terms of Masterton’s bylaws, will prohibit the consumption or possession of alcohol in public places at Castlepoint and Riversdale during Labour Weekend. It covers the period from Friday 20 October to Sunday, October 22, between 7pm and 7am.

A similar prohibition under the same regulations will be in place at Castlepoint and Riversdale from 6pm on Saturday, December 30 to 6am on Monday, January 1.

MDC also agreed to impose a prohibition on vehicles at Castlepoint and Riversdale Beach townships on New Year’s Eve, from 4pm on December 31 to 6am on January 1.

A report tabled at the meeting confirmed parts of Masterton are already permanently alcohol-free. The report also said the police supported the short-term holiday restrictions.

Work between MDC and Wairarapa Police in the past has reduced alcohol-related harm in the coastal communities, it also noted.

A police spokesperson attended the MDC meeting on Wednesday to speak in support of the ban, saying the proposals were essentially a continuation of what has been done in previous years.

“This is a really big part of our arsenal to try and give the residents of Castlepoint and Riversdale a good environment over this [holiday] period and Labour Day,” they said, adding many people used accommodation in the area at these times.

“Everyone wants to have fun and have alcohol. Without having the road closures and the alcohol bans, it does get out of hand.

“The youth do congregate. They do come in their vehicles just for the evening and that can cause a huge problem, and they leave a mess. Over the years we’ve managed to get that under control.”

The spokesperson said it is important for the issue to continue to be monitored, with the holiday restrictions remaining in place.

“I’m asking you to keep it in place, please, to allow people to have a good time and have a controlled time, and we don’t end up with people in hospital or anti-social behaviour that has a negative impact on the community.”

Masterton’s CDB and skatepark are alcohol-free zones at all times. Queen Elizabeth Park is alcohol-free from 9pm to 7am, seven days a week.

“The prohibition of vehicles and consumption or possession of alcohol has in the past proved to be an extremely useful deterrent to anti-social behaviour at the two beach resorts during Labour weekend and New Year celebrations,” the report said.

The restrictions will not apply to licensed premises or their outdoor areas, or to people carrying unopened alcohol containers from licensed premises to areas outside the alcohol-free zone or to a private property.

Full details of the restrictions will be published in due course.

– NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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