Wellington Scoop

“High level” of drunkenness at first night of Sevens – 160 ejected from Stadium

News from NZ Police
Wellington Police were disappointed with the alcohol management at last night’s Wellington Sevens. The wristband system appeared to break down and many people consumed and purchased liquior contrary to the agreed procedure.

Under the new Sale and Purchase of Alcohol Act we observed a high level of intoxication within the stadium tonight with over 160 people ejected and 10 arrests. Police are hoping for a big improvement tonight from both the stadium management and the public.

News from Radio New Zealand
The chief executive of Westpac Stadium says staff were overwhelmed with fans on the first day of the rugby Sevens and accepts police criticism over spectator drunkenness.

Shane Harmon said between 5pm and 6pm on Friday, just before New Zealand played their second game, a large number of people came in and many didn’t go through the system. He said more staff have been rostered on to ensure that everyone intending to drink is given a wristband, which may mean delays at marquees leading to the stadium.

Earlier News from NZ Police
Wellington District Police say that alcohol-fuelled disorder and intoxication will be dealt with swiftly both at the stadium and in the city over the weekend. Police have been working closely with Westpac Stadium, Sevens organisers and the Wellington City Council on new initiatives to prevent alcohol related harm and ensure the event is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Inspector John Spence, Operation Commander for the event, says “The new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act gives Police new powers and places greater responsibility on those serving alcohol to stop serving and intervene when people become intoxicated”.

“Police now have the power to issue infringement notices for a range offences as well as evict people from the stadium”.

As with previous years, security staff will be present at the entrance to the stadium to ensure the fans are not smuggling alcohol into the event. Wristbands allowing people to purchase and consume alcohol inside the venue will be issued at the gate and will be removed from anyone found to be intoxicated.

The CBD alcohol ban will be in force as usual across the city and Police can issue on-the-spot fines for anyone who breaches the alcohol ban with a $250 fine and/or arrest.

A team of Alcohol Harm Prevention Officers will be monitoring compliance with Act both inside the stadium and around the city with an extra 160 officers working on the Operation and keeping an eye on the behaviour of the crowd.

“We encourage people to drink plenty of water, to moderate their alcohol intake and to look after their mates. Take your friends home or back to their hotel if they have had too much to drink, otherwise they could be spending the night at our place,” says Inspector Spence.

Emergency medicine specialist Dr Paul Quigley said, “There is no surer way of ruining a good night out than a trip to ED so we encourage moderation. But it’s the little things too that tend to ruin peoples’ weekends, like not eating enough or drinking enough water and not protecting themselves from sunburn.”

“Last year during Sevens weekend we saw almost double the number of alcohol-related presentations in ED. Look after yourself and your friends at all times and don’t get dangerously drunk.”

“If the sun is out, sun burn can be a big issue and wearing hot costumes can cause heat stroke and exhaustion, which is made worse by alcohol.”

Last year 12 people were arrested and 47 people were evicted from the stadium over the two day event.

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