Mark Wilson: Cheap booze plus strict laws equals parties


OPINION: Maybe I’m getting old but I found the scenes at Lordens Place the other week quite disturbing.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

I awoke on Sunday to tend to my usual routine of running George the horse, Scoop the human and sorting the mundane tasks of life, like washing towels and cleaning the bathroom.

Surprisingly my phone was peppered with overnight action.

While perusing Snapchat and Facebook, I found myself becoming increasingly shocked and disappointed.

For some, scenes of chaotic and energetic parties over-flowing with people and music stir feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out). They do nothing to impress me.

I felt a sense of confusion as to how such a moshing den of inequity could be enjoyable to anyone over 25.

More so, there was an empa-thetic sadness for the owner, who was someone I knew.

The videos showing smashed bathrooms among a cesspit of poorly-aimed bodily fluids were disgusting.

But they’re not in the same orbit as the ones showing the behaviour towards the police by hordes of jacked-up revellers.

The whole affair reminded me of the Castle Street riots in Dunedin, where several house parties become one and clashes with the police feature bottle-throwing and couch-burning.

The action captured on social media, when replayed on the news, must have made a few formerly proud parents cringe.

It’s not the look we want for Queenstown – up for a good time, yes, wild uncontrolled parties and disrespect for authority, no.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not afraid of a few fizzy browns and a good house party.

To be fair I’m becoming more partial to some jovial drinks at home as I age, versus tackling the swirling mass of the downtown.

However I’d like to think key elements of showing respect for neighbours and other people’s property are caveats to my enjoyment – coupled, of course, with Speight’s and a decent feed on the BBQ.

In Queenstown we enjoy a party, are a little more laid-back than most and have a right to celebrate the great place we inhabit a number of different ways, including having a decent leer-up with a full head of steam.

That said, this went too far.

The dropkicks who instigated the shenanigans on Fernhill have done nothing to enhance our resort’s reputation and have ruined a former local and top bloke’s house – not to mention shattered the peace of innocent neighbours vying for a good night’s shut-eye.

To those who congregated, like moths to a flame, it’s easy to think you are innocent spectators, simple witnesses to the carnage.

But the social media-fuelled mob mentality thrives on your over-eager participation.

On the flipside, is this another symptom of cheap supermarket booze, coupled with repressive liquors laws stripping the fun away from organised events and local hospitality haunts?

Despite the shockingly unacceptable behaviour towards the police, maybe we need to look at where we would rather have these events.

Authorities need to encourage revellers into controlled environments.

That’s somewhere away from residential areas, with reasonably-priced booze, where they can get stuck into whatever spins their wheels without destroying the peace and other people’s property.

Mark Wilson is a Queenstown marketing consultant who is quite serious and clearly no longer in his 20s