Riot police pelted as party blows up

MATT STEWART AND FAIRFAX NZ
Last updated 05:00 02/01/2014

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Police in full riot gear were pelted with bottles as they tried to break up a new year party in Christchurch, while in Wellington 52 people were arrested on a night when police said people were generally well behaved.

Police were called to the out-of-control party in Spreydon after about 200 partygoers broke almost every window in the house and broke doors.

Eleven police in full riot gear had glass bottles thrown at them as they tried to bring the riot under control. Two people were arrested for disorderly assembly.

It was the second time in less than a week that a party at the same house had to be shut down by police. Neighbours said they were tired of regular parties there, with teenagers using driveways as toilets and children drinking in the street.

Taylor Te Kata, 17, who lives with his friend in the house, which is owned by his father, said: "Too many people showed up. Everyone was drunk and it blew up from a small party to blood on the street.

"People started throwing bottles and pushing each other over and stuff.

"It got on Facebook and it got out. I never put a single post on Facebook saying there was a party on."

Meanwhile, in Wellington Senior Sergeant Stan Wagner said New Year's Eve was "just like a busy Friday or Saturday - it seems the new alcohol laws have taken effect".

A raft of new alcohol laws came into force last month, meaning licensed premises are not able to serve alcohol before 8am or after 4am, and bottle stores must close by 11pm and cannot open before 7am.

There were 28 arrests in Wellington, 15 in Kapi-Mana, five in the Hutt Valley and four in Wairarapa but no "critical incidents", Mr Wagner said.

Alcohol was a factor in the bulk of arrests, about half of which were for disorder, a quarter for assault and the rest for various minor offences.

In Wairarapa, all of those arrested had been drinking, in Wellington 96 per cent, Kapi-Mana 66 per cent and the Hutt Valley 80 per cent.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was kept "flat out" over New Year's Eve with rescues around the region, including a false alarm for a man overboard in the Marlborough Sounds, pilot Dave Greenberg said.

The crew flew an elderly man from the Johnsonville side of Mt Kaukau after he injured himself in a fall.

Mr Greenberg said the man suffered minor scrapes and bruises to his body and face, but was discharged from Wellington Hospital by the evening.

About 8.30pm the crew attended a crash in Peka Peka Rd, off State Highway 1 north of Waikanae, after a man in his 30s rolled his car and had to be cut out by a fire crew.

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Police are investigating the cause of the crash and awaiting the results of a blood alcohol test. The man was flown to Wellington Hospital with serious leg and chest injuries and was in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.

"It was a very busy 24-hour period," Mr Greenberg said.

In Coromandel, police handed out $45,000 worth of instant fines to revellers celebrating the new year, but the number of arrests were down on previous years.

There were about 130 arrests in the Thames-Coromandel district overnight, mostly for breaches of the liquor ban and minor alcohol-related disorder.

Waikato police spokesman Andrew McAlley said that number was "well down" on past years.

About 180 $250 instant fines were handed out for breaches of the liquor ban, burning a $45,000 hole in partygoers' pockets.

The instant fines were introduced under new alcohol laws last month and Mr McAlley said they had helped to keep arrest numbers down over the new year period.

Mr McAlley said a recurring problem in Coromandel was young teenage girls getting drunk and putting themselves in vulnerable situations.

Police dealt with two young girls who tried to convince officers that they were 17 but could not get their dates of birth right, and were "having a battle with gravity".

Waikato Hospital's emergency department treated 12 people for alcohol-related assaults and three for alcohol-related injuries between 11pm on New Year's Eve and 6am on New Year's Day.

Fights and disorderly behaviour resulted in New Plymouth police making 18 arrests, with most at Oakura. Police there made several arrests for fighting and disorderly behaviour outside the Butlers Reef bar, where bands Katchafire and Kora had attracted a large crowd.

Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said much of the problem was people drinking outside the bar.

"For some reason some of the people going there wanted to have a fight. They weren't in a good space to enjoy a good night. I really do believe if a liquor ban was there, we would have been able to deal with any issues early."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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