Booze buses to cruise Ohakune

Two Central District booze buses and an army of police will descend on Ohakune for the annual Mardi Gras celebrations this weekend.

At the Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras, New Zealand musicians will take to the stage to perform for the thousands of revellers who will converge on the area to celebrate the start of the ski season.

Central District Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson expected a large contingent from Manawatu but, historically, people had driven from all over the North Island to attend.

A liquor ban would be enforced in the township, which would prevent people from consuming alcohol in public, he said.

Mr Dobson said the booze buses from Palmerston North and New Plymouth would be going up to catch out drink-drivers, and would be joined by a team from the Highway Patrol unit.

There would be a large police operation focused on driving, street disorder and bad drunken behaviour.

Mr Dobson said drivers needed to take care during the weekend because he expected the roads would be wet and there was likely to be some black ice.

The police presence would be strong throughout the weekend.

"We want people to have a good time, but if you're gong to have a good time and you drink alcohol and you decide to drive, we will catch you," he said.

"We are putting a concerted effort into keeping drunks off the road, and that is around the clock."

Mr Dobson warned people to get a break of at least 12 hours before driving the next day.

"Some of them seem to think they can have two hours' sleep and they'll be sober," he said.

He suggested checking tyres and brakes before travelling the long distance to Ohakune.

The Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras will kick off on Saturday night in Ohakune.

Manawatu Standard