Over-limit drivers cause concern

A weekend police operation across Tasman district breath tested nearly 7000 drivers and found 15 over the limit.

The Operation Unite Australasian police crackdown on alcohol-related harm on Friday and Saturday nights was combined in Tasman with an operation focused on country roads.

Across the district, which includes Nelson Bays, Marlborough and the West Coast, 140 police were out on the streets for the operation.

Operation commander Inspector Jenni Richardson said it was concerning that a large number of people were detected driving in excess of 250mcg which is the new breath alcohol level proposed to be introduced next year. Those drivers were all warned of the consequences when the law change comes into effect.

In Takaka, a drink-driver had a 15-month-old baby in the vehicle. Another driver stopped near Kaikoura had close to double the legal limit and had driven from Christchurch.

Nelson Bays Area Commander Inspector Steve Greally said close to 20 people were arrested for disorder, fighting or low level assaults and that prevented things escalating further.

He said breaches of the liquor ban are now well down on where they were two years ago, and police were investigating one assault at a Nelson bar. He was relatively pleased with the results for the city

Across the district 91 compliance checks were made on bars and off licences, and 65 controlled purchases made to check whether licensees would sell alcohol to a minor. Four on-licences failed the controlled purchase operation.

Inspector Richardson said it was disappointing so many people were still getting intoxicated and either offending or becoming victims.