Doors close to 'undesirables' in change to hall hire rules

Tougher rules to weed out "undesirables" have been placed on hiring public halls in South Taranaki after an out-of-control teenage birthday party in Normanby.

A crowd of more than 400 partied at the Normanby War Memorial Town Hall to celebrate an 18th birthday on April 28.

It was shut down by police after ambulance callouts and reports of under-age drinking.

An unconscious 17-year-old girl and aggressive 18-year-old man needed hospital treatment and there were also reports of graffiti damage and car break-ins.

A Hawera community board meeting this week went over the new rules - which include notifying police if the venue is hosting a "bring your own" event, or getting a special licence if selling alcohol on site.

John Sargeant, South Taranaki District Council property and facilities manager, said the bond for hiring halls in the district would remain at $300, except at Normanby, which has already risen to $500 because that's where the problems were.

"It's a nest of undesirables," replied councillor Peter Johnson.

Mr Johnson said he was pleased STDC staff could take legal action to chase the people who hired the venue and caused damage.

"String them up," he said.

Other new terms and conditions for hall hire state that the person booking must take measures so that people did not get drunk.

This includes providing substantial food options for the expected number of guests, having low and non-alcohol drinks available, safe transport home including designated drivers, and stopping disorderly conduct.

Minors given alcohol become the responsibility of the person providing it to them and no booze is allowed outside the venue.

Mayor Ross Dunlop said the stronger rules sent a clear message.

"There's still going to be those individuals that don't conform to them, but there will be less of them."

All four South Taranaki community boards received a copy of the new rules this week.

Taranaki Daily News