Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Draconian" approach will have a cost

The clamp down on public gatherings for the purposes of entertainment is becoming more and more of a problem. Just last month I blogged about the heavily-policed fiasco that Martinborough food festival has become. The latest comes in the form of the Kurow races, an event that has probably been held for more than a century and I imagine is akin to Tauherenikau on News Years Day, a benign but happy family picnic occasion.

New alcohol rules imposed on the Kumara Nuggets race meeting on January 14 have resulted in a sting in the tail for punters.
The Kumara Racing Club has been required to have 22 private security guards on course, instead of five, and that has pushed up the entry fee from $10 to $15.
The club applied to the Westland District Council in early October for the liquor licence, only to be met with a barrage of new requirements from health authorities, which created a "a lot of uncertainty" around being able to run the meeting next month, committee member Les Guenole said today.
The club had previously been planning to have alcohol-free areas but was instead told to hire more security guards, and was prevented from being able to advertise the meeting as BYO...
In a statement, Westland Mayor Bruce Smith criticised the hoops the Kumara Racing Club had to go.
"Crown (Public) Health, council and the police all became involved and unrealistic restrictions were requested by these parties based on what they say is legislation," Mr Smith said...
It was a turnaround for an event which was described this year by the West Coast police in the local media as "being well run with very few problems".
Being now required to increase security numbers, along with ordinary police presence was "a draconian step," Mr Smith said.

And that is the kicker. In the usual lazy and unjust bureaucratic modus operandi, all events are being punished because some become unruly - or draw a few individuals who are anti-social.

This blanket approach will have a cost. Not just economic.

I heard a brief item on the news yesterday that police were upset with people setting up Facebook pages to alert drivers to the whereabouts of alcohol check points.

The police are losing public support. If they treat us en masse like bad guys then they can expect a reaction.

Earlier this year I heard a second hand report of a police man being very fair to a young individual who he could clearly see broke the law by making a forgetful error. The officer exercised his judgement and did not throw the book at him.

Events should be treated similarly. Authorities could and should exercise some reasoned judgement and discretion.


Mark Wahlberg said...

Almost New Year greetings to you Lindsay,

Back in 2014 and as part of our round the South Island road trip,my wife and I attended the Hokitika Wild Food Festival. After paying the outrageous entrance fee, I was quickly surrounded by some burly security personal who demanded I surrender my bottle of water. Explaining I needed my water because of a "medical condition", I was told "if I needed water, I could buy it inside the venue". Of course I declined their generous offer and attempted to proceed, only to be grabbed by an over zealous thug. Keeping my cool and after further explaining to them that assaulting a disabled man because he would not relinquish his bottle of water, was a sure fire way of making the front page of the countries dailies. Cool heads prevailed and my wife and I were allowed to continue into the park.

We were unimpressed by the entire experience and stayed less than an hour. Booze appeared to be the major attraction for The large number of heavily intoxicated and unrestrained young people inside the function. The police and on site security seemed more concerned with itinerant water bearers.

It reminded me of a Boxing Day trip to the Palmerston North Awapuni races back about 2012 and the large number of drunken young people engaging in disruptive juvenile behaviour who made for a forgettable experience.

As for the Kumara Races, I suspect they are overreacting in an attempt to deal with the Kiwi love affair with alcohol.

Redbaiter said...

The behaviour of the police is just another symptom of the same problem that has created the unruly behaviour at some concerts/ events.

Progressive/ liberal cultural rot.

Five decades of the socialist state driving a wedge between parents and their offspring.

Nobody now knows what went before.

The cops or the citizens.

Anonymous said...

The scientists and the alcohol industry have clashed head-on over new research suggesting television audiences continue to be exposed to high rates of alcohol marketing and sponsorship.

The researchers say “growing up with the ubiquitous alcohol advertising and sponsorship could lead children to assume drinking alcohol was part of being a good New Zealand”.

But an alcohol industry executive says the study ignores reality.

“Couldn't be further from the truth,” says Spirits New Zealand chief executive Robert Brewer.

The New Zealand Medical Journal surveyed televised sport over the 2014-15 summer and found audiences were exposed to between 1.6 and 3.8 alcohol brands per minute of broadcast time.

One of the researchers Louise Signal says it's time the All Blacks terminated their sponsorship with beer brand Steinlager.

“We know the children who see their sporting heroes promoting alcohol are much more brand loyal, and, therefore, more likely to consume.”

- See more at:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this explains what the problem has become. Too many fat salaries and no policemen out on the prowl.

The number of police staff earning $120,000 or more in the Bay of Plenty District has more than doubled in one year.

The increase in top salaries coincided with a period when a stretched police budget and frontline staff shortages around the country were labelled a "crisis" by the police's representative body.

Police remuneration figures obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend reveal the number of staff in the district paid in excess of $120,000 rose from 61 people to 150 between the 2015 and 2016 financial years - a rise of 89 staff, or an increase of 145 per cent in one year.

There are now more police staff earning above $100,000 (320) in the Bay of Plenty District than there are earning less than $80,000 (280).

According to police, the average pay for officers in their fifth year was about $67,000.

Broken down further, the pay figures showed the number of staff earning between $120,000 and $140,000 rose from 44 to 119, or a 170 per cent increase. The number of staff earning between $140,000 and $160,000 doubled from 13 to 26. Five staff earned more than $160,000, one more than the year before.

The Bay of Plenty Policing District covers the Western and Eastern Bay, as well as Rotorua and Taupo, as far inland as Turangi.

Police Association Bay of Plenty regional director Scott Thompson said the figures were "a little bit concerning, to be honest".