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July 8, 2019 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Fountown Of Youth: Council Drops Kelburn Park Liquor Ban

Students will continue to be allowed to drink in Kelburn Park, after Wellington City Council decided against imposing a liquor ban on the area.

The Council’s City Strategy Committee met on June 13 and unanimously voted to maintain the status quo in Kelburn Park, while opting to introduce a parallel liquor ban in areas of Kilbirnie. 


468 submissions were received related to the liquor ban in Kelburn Park, with nearly 80% of the submissions opposing it. VUWSA and the university itself opposed the ban.


Submissions against the ban argued that it unnecessarily infringed upon the rights of people to drink and socialise. Others feared that a ban would simply send drinkers into more dangerous areas.


Jack Blakemore, a Weir House resident, said that a ban would simply shift drinkers to the Botanical Gardens. 


He said the gardens are “a much less desirable place—it’s dark, it’s further from help, it’s a nicer place which we should try [to] keep free from people drinking.”


The council accepted the majority view, noting that there was “not sufficient evidence of alcohol-related crime or disorder to warrant a complete ban.”


While it was established that there were legitimate noise and litter concerns, the committee held that the former could be solved by having more rubbish and recycling bins available. 


The latter has been proposed to be resolved by a review into drinking policy at university halls of residence.


VUWSA and VUW are glad to see the result, and both are looking to work constructively with the council and local residents on issues in the future.


Rainsforth Dix, VUW’s Director of Student and Campus Living, told ^Salient that the university has already had “productive conversations” with the city council around “taking a collaborative approach to tackling alcohol-related harm issues.”


Dix said that VUW is also reviewing practices around alcohol in halls, “and will include student voice in the process.” Any changes will come into effect in 2020.


In a media release, VUWSA credited the result to student submissions inspired by their “Save Fountown” campaign. However, President Tamatha Paul also echoed VUW’s sentiments, “Change does not happen in isolation and all parties must be involved.”


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