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Wānaka police warn parents about teen drinking and violent behaviour

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Dec 2023, 3:43PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Wānaka police warn parents about teen drinking and violent behaviour

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Dec 2023, 3:43PM

School versus school fights, youth drinking and dangerous driving in Wānaka last night have prompted police to appeal to parents to not supply their children with alcohol if they’re not there to supervise them. 

‘’It is just a huge risk and it is causing us no end of problems. It is just ridiculous”, Senior Sergeant Chris Brooks, of Wānaka, said today. 

“If parents just didn’t do that [supply alcohol] or did the right thing [supervised], maybe their kids wouldn’t get arrested, or hurt, or make dumb decisions that affected their future. 

“This is 101 parenting. It is not our job to bring your kid up’', the clearly frustrated officer said. 

Wānaka Senior Sergeant Chris Brooks said parents would be prosecuted for sending children away on unsupervised holidays with alcohol. Photo / Otago Daily TimesWānaka Senior Sergeant Chris Brooks said parents would be prosecuted for sending children away on unsupervised holidays with alcohol. Photo / Otago Daily Times 

Brooks is in charge of the annual Southern Police response to New Year’s Eve events in Wānaka. About 50 officers are in the popular Otago town from around the lower South Island. 

He revealed the parents of many children arrested for fighting or picked up and taken home last night were on holiday, while the parents were still at their family homes. 

The parents were all around the country, but mostly in Canterbury, and the children had reported their parents had supplied them with alcohol. 

Brooks warned parents would be prosecuted for sending children away on unsupervised holidays to Wānaka with boxes of beer. 

Wānaka police previously successfully prosecuted a parent for supplying his 14-year-old daughter with alcohol following last summer’s events. 

Some of the children picked up last night were “staying in tents somewhere”, while others were staying in houses, he said. 

“We picked up quite a few people last night who had been supplied by parents. It is pretty disappointing to find parents at home and their kids are down here on holiday ... there were a number of examples of underage campers with no supervision. 

“Parents should not defer their responsibilities by staying home.” 

Police are also investigating a “school-on-school fight” between youths on the lakefront last night. 

Brooks declined to name the schools for now, but confirmed they were not from Wānaka’s only secondary school, Mount Aspiring College. 

“You might as well write the same story as last year and change the date ... The combination of age, alcohol and school was a bad mix.” 

Some of the children at the lakefront fight were arrested for various offences and were returned to their parents. 

There were no major injuries from the disorder - but plenty of hurt pride, Brooks said. 

Police activities yesterday also included arrests for drink driving and responding to crashes around the district. Details of car-crash injuries were not available. 

Meanwhile, a man who nearly hit some children on a quad bike at the Albert Town camping ground on Friday was arrested for loss of traction on a quad bike, charged with dangerous driving, drink driving and had his vehicle impounded. 

Police checkpoints would continue around Wānaka today. 

- Otago Daily Times

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