Kapiti council to vote on booze ban

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 13:35 29/11/2012
Sean Strongman-Lintern
STABBING VICTIM: Sean Strongman-Lintern.
Millanta
VICTIM: Slain teen Izak Millanta.

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Kapiti's council is set to ban alcohol in public in a bid to defuse alcohol-related violence following the deaths of two young men.

The proposed temporary ban from urban Paekakariki to Waikanae Beach would run from 9pm until 6am. It would not need community consultation.

The ban proposal comes after the deaths of Izak Millanta and Sean Strongman-Lintern only weeks apart in the Kapiti Lights area of Paraparaumu.

A report to Kapiti Coast District Council by social wellbeing senior adviser Sam Hutcheson said the council's Public Places Liquor Control Bylaw had tightened ban areas in Otaki in 2007. However the south of the district was only covered by a short Christmas and New Year ban on all Kapiti beaches and a few small areas such as the Waikanae skate park.

She said police statistics revealed alcohol-related crime tended to focus around liquor outlets, such as in the Kapiti Lights complex.

However, any ban would not cover the Kapiti Lights complex, which was privately owned.

"The location is also influenced by private parties which are scattered across the district. Many of the incidents occur when party-goers travel from one place to another. Crime is focused in the travel corridors."

This meant a wider liquor ban area was needed, provided the response was a "reasonable" limitation on people's rights, and in proportion to the evidence.

While the council had the power to designate liquor ban areas, they were enforced by the police. Ms Hutcheson said the difficulty police faced in dealing with crime was that once big groups of people occurred, it could overwhelm police resources.

"The police recommend a widespread ban to allow them to intervene before escalation."

She said the unforeseen circumstances that triggered the initiative meant the council had not budgeted for the cost around the ban - including design, installation and repair of signage.

Ms Hutcheson recommended councillors approved a $20,000 budget from the council's contingency fund.

Ms Hutcheson said the proposed ban could be open to legal challenge because it covered such a large area.

"However, because it is temporary, [it] only covers the urban areas and will be reviewed and formally consulted on early in 2013, internal legal advice is that the response is proportionate in light of the evidence to date."

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Councillors vote on the proposals today.

WHERE AND WHEN

A proposed ban would prohibit drinking, possessing or bringing alcohol into public areas in a specified zone.

The zone covers the urban areas of Paekakariki, Raumati, Raumati South, Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu, Paraparaumu Beach, Otaihanga, Waikanae and Waikanae Beach.

It is proposed to run from December 15 this year till May 27 next year, from 9pm to 6am every day.

The bylaw gives leeway for people travelling directly to a residence in the area, or out of the specified area. People who breach the ban could be fined and have their alcohol seized.

- Kapiti Observer

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