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Police – Mayor meet over weekend tragedy

7 May 2007

All New Zealand cities, not just Christchurch, face problems with young people binge drinking,  Christchurch Mayor, Garry Moore says.

Mr Moore and Christchurch Police District Commander Sandra Manderson held an urgent meeting this morning to discuss the weekend’s tragic death of two young people hit by a car outside a suburban party.

“Our heart felt sympathy goes out to all the families and friends of the young people who died. They are grieving, along with the rest of our city. This is just a total tragedy for a large number of local families,” Mr Moore says.

Mr Moore says police and other emergency service staff including ambulance and hospital staff, faced an extremely difficult situation on Saturday night when hundreds of teenagers, many of them intoxicated, gathered at a party in St Albans.

“Our city’s emergency services responded brilliantly to the crisis,” Mr Moore says.

“I understand from the police that they only discovered people had been injured by a car driving through the crowd when they went in to clear the party.  Just before this, they had bottles thrown at them,” Mr Moore says

“Things got out of control and anger and booze came into the mix, with the result that two young lives were lost with others left in the balance and families and friends devastated.”

Mr Moore says it was easy to start looking for someone to blame. “That will come later. Today I, along with other councillors and elected members,  am grieving with the family, friends and the rest of the community,” he says.

Mr Moore says the problem of youth violence from drinking alcohol was New Zealand wide.  

“It is timely to reflect on today’s society and the binge drinking culture that has emerged among our young people,” he says.

“Of the 10,000 people who went through the police cells at the Christchurch police station last year, 85 per cent of them had been drinking. Alcohol is the worst drug of all.”

Council is working with police and other community agencies to address problems raised by 24 hour/ seven day a week drinking. It is also involved in a number of key initiatives to improve safety within Christchurch.

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