Police are cracking down on behaviour at two popular beaches after a man was badly hurt doing skids at speed.
Holiday policing measures at Wairarapa's Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches this year include a hard line on hoons, especially quad-bike users, as well as the usual liquor bans.
Locals say that the harsher measures cannot come soon enough.
"People come to the beach and take it like a 40-acre paddock and think they can do anything they like on it. Until somebody gets hurt, nothing gets done," Castlepoint Store owner Devon Oakly said.
Sergeant Mike Sutton of Wairarapa said the measures were partly a reaction to an accident earlier this month where a 22-year-old Pahiatua shearer hit soft sand driving at speed and flipped. He was flown to Wellington Hospital and spent time in intensive care.
Mr Sutton said beaches wre legally classed as roads, so the speed limit was 50kmh unless a lower limit was posted. The Castlepoint lagoon beach has a posted limit of 20kmh.
Police would confiscate cars being driven dangerously on the beaches and drivers could lose their licences, he said.
Extra police would patrol Castlepoint and Riversdale during New Year's Eve and enforce a 24-hour liquor ban for all public areas from 6pm on December 30 to 6pm on January 1, as well as a vehicle ban on the beach from December 31. Breaching that ban could lead to an instant $250 fine, Mr Sutton said.
Police would also fine beach- goers up to $400 to enforce tighter restrictions on quad-bike use because it was "only a matter of time" until someone was badly hurt, Mr Sutton said.
Mr Oakly said he did not want to see people stopped from driving on the beach but applauded police for trying to make drivers of quads, motorbikes and other vehicles "calm down".
"Just stop those buggers hooning around when they get on to the beach - there are little kids running across into the water. They take the beach like a road but there'd be 10 times as many people down on the beach than on the roads out here."
- The Dominion Post
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