What’s your plan for tackling alcohol-related crime?

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Simon Hayes (mayoral candidate)
WE should all understand that the misuse or over-indulgence of alcohol is a national and international issue.
When drunkenness leads to abuse of others, or property, violence and/or vandalism, we should take a hard line and expect the justice system to follow suit.
CCTV in the CBD may assist in this regard. Personal responsibility by the customer and the licensees is central to any debate or action and I look forward to council supporting the police and other agencies to control and reduce such crime. I personally support a one-way-door policy after, say, 2am.

Michael Scott (mayoral candidate)
MORE emphasis needs to go on the guidelines of selling alcohol – it’s a worldwide issue not just affecting our community. 
The booze-binge mentality is a huge problem.
We cannot afford to jeopardise our hospitality industry who bring substantial revenue to our district.
Many solutions have been debated – CCTV, town custodians, closing times etc but residents need to decide: party town or safer town?
It begins with re-educating our consumers and individually being more responsible.

Vanessa Van Uden (mayoral candidate)
CLEARLY there isn’t an easy answer or someone would have found it long ago.
It’s not simply a case of imposing more restrictions, as individual responsibility should also be encouraged.
I think the solution lies in all parties involved working together to find a balanced, achievable solution.
Our licensed sector is a revenue driver for the community but safety on our streets is also vital.
The implementation of CCTV, through a partnership between the community, police and CBD businesses, would be a big step in the right direction.

Mel Gazzard (Wakatipu ward):
With regard to Downtown Queenstown more active policing on the street, and of licensed premises to ensure those that serve intoxicated customers are heavily penalised, would be a good start. Sledge hammer approaches such as early closing and heavy increases in price penalise many for the actions of a few.
Annette Dalziel (Wakatipu ward):
My plan for tackling alcohol-related crime is to encourage a greater police presence walking the streets, especially during the times of the day the consumption of alcohol is at its greatest. The police presence on the ground could act as a deterrent for troublemakers and diffuse potential trouble and vandalism quickly. The police would be immediately available to support the law regarding consumption of alcohol in bars and the purchase of alcohol in liquor stores.

Cath Gilmour (Wakatipu ward):
Two questions first: is ‘Party Central’ the downtown image and reality we want and what tools are best to tackle resultant alcohol-fuelled problems? The community, who wear the costs, should have a say on both fronts. Would the 60-year-old Melbourne company director caught with his pants down last week behave like that at home? Hopefully, next week’s alcohol reform forum will start working out what we want our downtown to be like in the wee hours and what we can do. Options include encouraging self-responsibility, CCTV, greater licensee responsibility, extending the community guides, revolving door policy, changing ZQN’s marketing image…

Russell Mawhinney (Wakatipu ward):
Alcohol-related crime must be addressed on an ongoing basis by:
Firstly, installing security cameras downtown as a priority. Secondly, educating underage drinkers, thoughtless adults and liquor outlets, including supermarkets, about the problem and consequences for them. Thirdly, greater police presence at night when crime is occurring. Fourthly, clear consequences for bar owners who encourage excessive drinking. Fifthly, bar staff must not serve intoxicated people. We must educate people, set clear rules and deal firmly with anyone who breaks them. A vibrant nightlife attracts thousands of visitors here each year and the above safety measures will enhance the experience for all.

Kevin Peterson (Wakatipu ward):
It is a fact of life that offences will be incurred when we have such a party central concentration of bars and clubs primarily in Queenstown. We need to try and reduce these as best we can by variety of measures. Tougher sentences for alcohol-related crime in order to deter future offenders. Regular reviews of licensed premises, noise control and the timing and use of outside facilities at bars. I also believe that we should fast track the introduction of security cameras at key hotspots within the central area. No current plan to change existing trading hours.

Simon Spark (Arrowtown ward):
The key to tackling alcohol-related crime is for the QLDC and the police to form a more effective relationship. We need to support our police more actively with a balance between education and enforcement. Identify the main issues around the relationship between alcohol and crime and put strategies in place to minimise them. Community work is an initiative I would like to see explored more. Get the offenders doing work that the council is paying contractors to do ie vegetation control, working at the recycling plant and keeping our community tidy. CCTV surveillance is also a must for the CBD of Queenstown.

Simon Stamers-Smith (Wakatipu ward):
Many see the solution to our alcohol related crime problems as being a reduction in the numbers of and hours of operation of liquor outlets. I do not see that a reduction in the numbers of excellent licensed restaurants and bars in Queenstown and their hours of operation will achieve this. They are there and open because of demand from our visitors and locals alike. More policing by our police of liquor outlets and enforcement of liquor laws is required. Those who break the rules should suffer the consequences. This will lead to a large reduction in alcohol related problems.

Preston Stevens (Wakatipu ward):
Alcohol-related crime is a national and international problem. But for our district it appears that many of the problems are created by a small sector, possibly influenced by our current legislative and social environment. I believe that the council (having been elected to represent the community) needs to work together as a team to lead directives in identifying the issues that create the problems in our district and should provide guidance in attempting to rectify the problems. Methods may include workshops, education and consultation sessions. Outcomes may require changes to bylaws and review of parts of the district plan.

Karen Swaine (Wakatipu ward):
We need a range of integrated policies to deal with the challenges of alcohol-related crime. Council should actively engage with those social service agencies that are already positioned to work on these challenges. To assist police in their work, we should promptly install CCTV cameras in the CBD and ensure necessary protocols are in place to protect individual privacy. I do not support 24-hour trading. I believe economic diversification will provide us with opportunities to create a Queenstown experience that allows everyone the chance to enjoy a safe CBD at all hours of the day and night.

Trevor Tattersfield (Wakatipu ward):
Council must take positive action to stem the violence streaming from our ‘party town’ image, it is simply not acceptable. We need to feel safe on our streets at night. The police have issued a plea for blanket closing of bars at 2am. and council must support/action this. It works well overseas. In addition the industry needs to enforce a ‘responsible host’ programme by closely monitoring entry to bars, refusing service to those already over the limit, and ensuring those drunks evicted have somewhere to go. Accordingly there needs to be more strict enforcement and harsher penalties for hosts who do not comply (remove their licence).

Grahame Thorne (Wakatipu ward):
We want vacationers to come here, have a good time, let their hair down, but many get drunk, cause damage to themselves and our town and it’s the residents who end up footing the bill. Drunken revellers need to be made aware that there are serious consequences for anti-social behaviour. We need a well-publicised zero-tolerance policy towards public acts of drunkenness. This must be strictly enforced with more policing which would require more spending and this should be funded by a tax on tourists, possibly in the form of a bed tax.

Geoff Wilson (Wakatipu ward):
Alcohol-related crime has become a much greater problem since the lowering of the legal drinking age, most adult people would agree. Unfortunately we have a culture not only in Queenstown but in the whole of New Zealand where adolescents seem to think they have to get “off their face” ASAP when socialising. Solutions – raise drinking age to 20, security cameras in main areas of Queenstown, better education in the safe use of alcohol, ban alcohol advertising that promotes drinking as a must do and an only way to be happy and enjoy yourself.

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