Home > Social Issues > New Zealand 2011AD: Drunken Mayhem and a nice Family Day Out.

New Zealand 2011AD: Drunken Mayhem and a nice Family Day Out.

The licence is subject to conditions that will be discussed on Monday.

Joseph and Kylie Stafford described arriving at the races last year with their two-year-old twins and friends to find crowds of drunk and aggressive young people like a rampage of carnage.

They told of seeing patrons passed out, vomiting, fighting, swearing and staggering. “I’m no prude … but this was drunken mayhem,” Mr Stafford said.

At one point two young drunk women started “pawing” the twins in their pushchair and spilling alcohol on them. When Mr Stafford moved the women away with his forearm, he was confronted by five aggressive men.

Mr Stafford, a tall man who once played rugby for Marlborough, said he was “bloody scared” of the men’s attitude. Helped by bystanders, he got the pushchair to safety. In the stands, the Staffords found groups of young men hurling cups of alcohol over others and small groups of older racegoers “with fear in their eyes”. Mrs Stafford saw a group of three young men in the stand sniffing something off a compact mirror using a rolled bank note.

The couple said they had attended many race meetings and wine and food festivals, but had never seen such a level of drunkenness before. “There were girls falling over, their dresses up around their ears,” Mrs Stafford said.

She said she had felt uneasy about speaking at the hearing “but we’ve spent the last couple of years reading about teenage deaths and over-consumption of alcohol and I thought, `If something happens to a teenager at the next event and I hadn’t said anything, then I’m as bad as anyone else.”‘

David Smith, who drove past the racecourse that day, saw a young drunk woman vomiting in a gutter, a young man lying unconscious on a verge and a group of males hurling abuse at passersby and police. “It was absolutely disgusting.” 

A policeman who attended the 2009 and 2010 race meetings witnessed many extremely intoxicated patrons, some of whom were still being served alcohol.

HB Racing general manager Jason Fleming and club chairman Mick Ormond acknowledged the failings of previous years and promised to do better.

An improved alcohol management plan was submitted, the number of security staff would be boosted from 90 to 130, more qualified bar staff would be employed and monitoring of patrons would be improved.

Racing contributed millions to the regional economy, Mr Fleming said. Without the special licence, the event “would be severely compromised and as a result the club compromised”.

Upper Hutt alcohol harm reduction officer Shane Benge, who works on the liquor application for the Wellington Cup, said police had never been put in a position where they had had to oppose the application.

Police and the Wellington Racing Club worked together each year to try to minimise problems around alcohol.

NZ Racing Board spokesman John Mitchell said the organisation was aware of what was happening in Hawke’s Bay but would not get involved. It was a club’s responsibility to make sure it worked with police and liquor-licensing authorities to ensure the appropriate standards were met.

This, in particular,  should ring in our ears;

“Racing contributed millions to the regional economy, Mr Fleming said. Without the special licence, the event “would be severely compromised and as a result the club compromised”.

It all boils down to the almighty bloody dollar, does it?

Well, my fellow New Zealanders, that certainly is something to reflect on next time you see a bunch of drunken hoons creating a nuisance of themselves; or some kid dying from alcohol poisoning; or a drunk driver annihilating innocents; or just plain obnoxious behaviour. Because somewhere, someone has to make a profit on selling cheap, easily available booze to the public.

Just in case anyone reading this is starting to feel even remotely angry at where we have arrived in 2011AD, you may wish to make your feelings known to these gentlemen;

Rt Hon. John Key, Prime Minister

Hon. Simon Power, Minister of Justice

Hon. Judith Collins, Minister of Police

Hon Phil Goff, Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

I’m sure they’d love to hear from us.

– Saturday, 23 July 2011

Categories: Social Issues

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