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New Year’s coastal crackdown

A liquor ban will be in place from 6pm on December 30 to 12pm on January 1 at Castlepoint beach as police step up their presence at the popular New Year’s Eve spot. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

 

HAYLEY GASTMEIER

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Police will be stepping up their presence in Castlepoint this New Year’s Eve after several assaults and close calls last year with young people drinking on the streets.

This year a longer alcohol ban will be in place at the Coastal township, with police saying they will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to those flouting it.

The growing popularity of Castlepoint as a party destination has also led to calls from residents for parents and revellers alike to take more responsibility for their actions.

“A lot of parents are driving their kids out there with a chilly bin, and dropping them off with a tent and a sleeping bag and picking them up 24 hours later,” said Chris Garland, chairman of the Castlepoint Residents and Ratepayers Association.

“They end up sleeping under a tree or on the side of a road, or in a car port if they do sleep at all.

“The parents just need to be a little bit more responsible.”

Police say the coastal settlement has been growing in popularity among Wairarapa young people as “the place to go” to see in the new year.

Senior Sergeant Gordon Crawley said the past few years had seen issues escalate with people flocking to Jetty Rd.

“Last year we were confronted by a thousand people, mostly school students.”

Police say as well as a number of reported disorders, a teen’s jaw was broken in a serious assault, and a young woman narrowly escaped falling victim to a sexual assault with an older man only because police intervened.

Mr Crawley said new measures would help curb the problem.

The usual 12-hour liquor bans at the two beaches would be extended out an extra day and police numbers would be ramped up.

A liquor ban would be in place from 6pm on December 30 to 12pm on January 1, which means no drinking or possession of opened alcohol vessels in public places.

Mr Crawley said “a lot of problems” had previously arisen from those breaching the ban, many of whom were underage.

A harder line would now be applied, with people found to be in breach either arrested or fined $250.

“Let’s face it, nobody wants to spend their New Year’s Eve with the police, waiting for their mum and dad to pick them up.” he said.

Mr Garland said the locals were sick of cleaning up the mess the next day.

“The community welcomes anyone who wants to enjoy themselves, Castlepoint’s a great place to spend New Year’s Eve.

“Where it doesn’t work is when you get big mobs of adolescents roaming around and getting a bit intimidating, especially because we try and have a family environment out there and when you have people walking around getting intoxicated from midday onwards it’s not really a great look.”

Fights and broken glass were the key problems, he said.

And it wasn’t just youths creating strife, with “a few adults in the mix”.

“We don’t want to send them away or anything, just be responsible about their behaviour.”

Mr Garland said residents needed to be wary when renting their homes out over the New Year period.

Often residents returned home to find “a bit of wreckage and trashing” had gone on.

An extra safety measure would be a road closure on Jetty Rd from noon on December 31 until 7am on New Year’s Day.

Mr Crawley said if underage teens were going to a private party that had adult supervision, parents needed to provide written consent if their children were going to drink alcohol.

“We’d also ask that you chat with your kids before they head out, after drinking safety and looking out for their friends.”

Riversdale would also have a road closure and liquor ban in place on New Year’s Eve.

Police patrols would be stepped up throughout the region.

 

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