Eden Park neighbours fear Nines booze binge
JOE DAWSON AND LAUREN PRIESTLEY
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Organisers have promised to take a hard line on alcohol consumption for this weekend's inaugural NRL Nines event at Eden Park but the stadium's neighbours are anxious about how the tournament will affect the community.
"It's an unprecedented event," Eden Park Neighbours Association president Mark Donnelly says.
"There's nothing like this that's happened before.
"Nervous is a good expression to use."
The worry is that with eight hours of play on each of the two days and an expected crowd of up to 46,000 the worst of New Zealand's drinking culture could be imposed upon those who live around the stadium.
"We see the sevens party atmosphere based around alcohol and Eden Park will essentially be New Zealand's biggest pub on the day and that can be difficult to control.
"But the biggest worry is the pre-loading and the after-party. I've seen people finishing a six pack before going into the stadium.
"We're hoping for and expecting a strong security presence outside the ground."
Eden Park Trust chief executive David Kennedy says organisers are taking the sale and supply of alcohol very seriously.
Revellers will be denied access to the stadium if they turn up intoxicated, he says.
Bag searches and even breathalyzers will be used at the entrances to the park if necessary.
Liquor wardens, security guards and police will be on hand to keep an eye on intoxication within the stadium.
The zero-tolerance policy is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of league fans, Kennedy says.
"With 46,000 people here who want to have fun and watch what's going to be the most amazing rugby league tournament, the last thing you want is someone who is drunk annoying them.
"You can come here to watch the tournament and have a drink - but don't come here just to drink because we don't want you."
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