Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Lorde, the council and the Powerstation shambles

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  • Russell Brown,

    A couple more things:

    - Even the big venue owners seem frustrated by liquor licensing edicts. Spark Arena's management has even discussed forming a lobby group.

    - Special licences for non-standard venues seem to be getting harder to get. I've heard of a small promotional event (in a retail space) being declined because the shop didn't meet the standards of a licensed premises. Surely that's what special licenses are for?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Adam H,

    I can't help but think that the foundation is:

    - the hand-wringing old farts who seem to think that today's kids are far worse than they were with alcohol and
    - how over-regulation of any sector always benefits the big players.

    Then you just layer in poorly trained ever changing staff and the rest is easy.

    There's a good story here on what (may have...) happened in Sydney. God help me, I'm about to post a link to the Daily Mail. Please forgive me.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3439926/No-drinks-violent-fights-millions-gambling-taxes-NSW-government-think-Star-casino-gets-free-pass-Sydney-s-liquor-lockout-laws.html

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Adam H,

    There's a good story here on what (may have...) happened in Sydney. God help me, I'm about to post a link to the Daily Mail. Please forgive me.

    You are absolved.

    And yeah, Sydney is what I've been thinking of too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    Rob Warner did a lot of excellent work recently fighting the efforts by the NZ Police to convince Auckland councillors to introduce Sydney-style lock-out laws (sorry ChCh, your bar owners caved before it even got to council IIRC).

    I've been out of the biz for a long time but it has been my experience that the Police are the ones trying to shape the laws that govern who can drink what when and where. It should be the law makers (Govt & Councils) who do that, and the Police should stick to enforcing those rules.

    I'm aware of two different events (different promoters) that had legally licensed bars arbitrarily shut down by the NZ Police on the grounds that too many people were consuming too much alcohol. Maybe if we weren't penned into tiny bar areas with long queues for service we might not feel the need to buy four drinks for ourself when we finally got to the front of the queue. In NY I could go to an all ages event in a park, walk up to any food stall, buy a beer no questions asked, and... go wherever I wanted! There was no 'pen' no containment whatsoever.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo, in reply to Nick D'Angelo,

    My own story:

    Waaay back in 1993 when I started planning for the Millennium NYE dance party at the Aotea Centre we met with the Police (across the road) as a courtesy to explain what we were doing. 'We' was myself (the Promoter ie hirer of the venue) and the Food & Beverage Manager of Aotea Centre (they had a 24/7 liquor license - meaning they could sell alcohol at all hours at any time except Xmas & Good Friday).

    We were rather gobsmacked when the Inspector said he didn't like the sound of what we were doing, and didn't want us doing it. We politely said (remember, we were only there as a courtesy - or so we thought) that the event was happening and the bars would be open. The Inspector reiterated his concerns and then spoke directly to the F&B manager. He said if the Aotea Centre chose to go ahead with the event he would take a dim view of that choice and it would be something they (the Police) would take a closer look at when it came time for their liquor license to be renewed.

    We returned across the road and reported what we perceived as a clear threat to Greg Innes, CEO of Aotea Centre. He wasn't having a bar of it and so he picked up the phone, called their Big Name lawyers, and instructed them to contact the Police in writing immediately and have them confirm in writing by close of business that day (and it was 3pm by now) that the NZ Police did in fact intend to challenge their license when it came up for renewal if they held the NYE event.

    The event went ahead without obstruction, and ran for another 7 years.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Barry,

    Thank you Russell for displaying the absurdity around these alcohol laws. This is a world class event with our own local and supremely talented Lorde and should be treasured. I don't have tickets unfortunately but if I had tickets to Lorde at the Powerstation and was told that the venue was now Bruce Mason, I would be devastated.
    Music events like this are not an alcohol problem. The Council department responsible should quite frankly be shot!
    Thank you for showing the cultural ignorance of the Council officials and perhaps also the Police, We are regressing and it damns our supposed status as a an International Music City.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    "Auckland is now an international music capital of the world."

    Does this just mean ATEED or the Council will erect blue plaques on the sites of closed venues like The Kings Arms? ...and maybe a statue of Graham Brazier outside the Globe.?

    To be honest I can't really see that Auckland has done much more than any other NZ city to deserve it - or is it an aspirational title?

    I was in Paris for the international music day a coupla years back (coincidentally, not because of) and it was 'going off' as the kids say - with all musical genres getting an airing in halls and squares all across the city - one can but hope for a similar approach for Auckland.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Adam H,

    - the hand-wringing old farts who seem to think that today's kids are far worse than they were with alcohol

    I suspect the problem is they think todays kids will be exactly as bad with alcohol as they were when they were kids.

    NZ has a totally broken attitude to alcohol, it does more harm than any other drug. We are caught in this weird state between prohibition and complete freedom that seems to make the whole problem worse.

    I have some sympathy for the police because they get to deal with the fallout when it goes pear shaped - but allowing the police to decide what our society should be like is ridiculous and scary as all hell.

    No idea how we get to a common sense balance around alcohol but I would have thought the Lorde concert would have made a perfect example of getting it right - but instead it's a great example of how to get it wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Dastardly Bounder,

    If kids can’t hear the music they love – music often made by their peers – there’s a risk they’ll be lost to live music altogether. And more particularly, to New Zealand music.

    There's another option too. In some ways the restrictive nature of licensing and established venues leads to creative ventures that challenge, change and enhance the music scene. If ‘kids’ don't get access to the music they love in official venues, they start their own. Plenty of examples of this exist and they start because the status quo didn't cater for the audience.

    I'm thinking about several warehouse flats that held this function in Auckland in the 90s - Normanby Road (The Berry to aficionados) comes to mind. This dilapidated warehouse at one stage provided weekly events that often featured music from NZ musicians, and undoubtedly influenced many kiwi producers of electronic music. The door fee was low and security kept at a minimum. No alcohol was ever sold and it wasn't generally consumed in large quantities either. I lived in the warehouse for more than a year and the only problems we ever had were from drunkards wandering down from the Horse and Trap.

    The same thing can be said for why Entrain and Splore started and then thrived. The establishment just didn't support the type of event, the music or the aspirations of the crowd. The promoters looked for alternatives and the crowd reacted, voting with their feet (so to speak).

    Auckland • Since Dec 2012 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Sydney doesn't just have the lock-out laws and undue influence by the excessively rich and the gambling scum, we have a whole load of other nonsense. Also, sadly, series of examples of how even a council who wants to do the right thing can be overruled by higher government and bureaucrazy.

    The most general problem is "neighbourhood amenity" provisions, where it's considered that by default a large group of people is always a bad thing. The onus is thus on venues to show that they should be allowed to create the problem of a group of people, and what they will do to stop that problem impinging on their neighbours. This has to be done regularly, and every time it's treated as though the venue is the newcomer to an existing area. There's optionally consideration of "existing uses", but that is very optional and a special case has to be made for it every time.

    On top of this is a layer of state government craziness, where they write alcohol laws based on the worst of the worst (lawyered-up chains of gambling dens who want to be open, serving alcohol 24/7 to feed patrons into their pokie machines). The collateral damage to that is, of course, any alcohol dealer who can't afford $50,000 every year to litigate their way into a license renewal.

    In Sydney we also have densification enforced from on high, and heavily influenced by large companies (why would a politician grovel to 50 small businesses when they can let one large donor work around the laws for a single large cash infusion?[1]) Those property developers target exactly the urban renewal areas where artists and venue exist, because they're worth more as residential slumlord properties than as venues. Even better, they can use the former arty image as a marketing point. But without that disruptive art actually interfering. It's a win-win! The residual art zone in Marrickville is one of the current targets for this, the target is 10k-20k new residents in an area featuring the Elefant Traks studio, Red Rattler venue and the Marrickville Makerspace as some of the most visible "low value occupiers".

    The the media turn round and whine loudly that all the interesting culture has gone and now there's just industrial-scale nightclubs and pokies. They only care about indie culture when it's being driven out (they want that, it's "redevelopment" and "improvement") or when they periodically rediscover how sterile and boring industrialised entertainment is.

    [1] technically property developers can't donate to political parties in NSW. But somehow the major parties haven't needed to replace those "missing" donations, and their pro-large-developer policies continue as before. Hmm.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1032 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    To think that Sydney used to have a pub on every corner (well almost) - I see that the old Windsor Castle in Paddington (that the Toy Love flat was next to) has now been turned into some millionaire's house after languishing as an empty shell for some time.

    I also understood that at the upper echelons of government and police in Sydney there was the problem of a large 'Christian Wowser' influence. Is this still the case?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    problem of a large 'Christian Wowser' influence.

    You mean the most holy Mike Baird the explicit Christian conservative? Nah, we have Gladys Berejiklian now. She's less overt but still beholden to the NSW Christian wrong for support. They're just not able to to count on the premier touring the churches ranting about shutting down sin any more. But with him and the Catholic Prime Minister it was a bit grim for a while (Tony Abbott wanted to be a priest but decided he liked sex with women a bit too much... he wasn't so Catholic that he avoided adultery, though).

    That article uses the phrase "serving Jesus" makes me think of communion, which I'm sure is not their intent. "eat up your yummy Jesus bits, children. Tasty, tasty Jesus!".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1032 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Moz,

    “eat up your yummy Jesus bits, children. Tasty, tasty Jesus!”

    “Aren’t I lucky, I got a chunky bit!”

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1751 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Moz,

    he wasn't so Catholic that he avoided adultery, though).

    Dude, Catholics invented adultery.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2813 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Moz,

    “eat up your yummy Jesus bits, children. Tasty, tasty Jesus!”.

    Is the market finally ready for my salted 'Corpus Crispies' then?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    went to a T20 cricket game in the UK. Felt like such a grown up.

    NZ rules would have been 2 4% beers after a 30 minute queue or something like that (1/6 of a T20 game).

    In the natwest they had a problem with pint snakes- disposable cups being put together to make a long line. The solution?

    Two pronged. Firstly, for pints charge for commemorative cups with a refund of one pound, so no one will throw them away and secondly, to give the punters beer in 2 pints disposable cups, instead of one. That's right- a litre of beer in each hand without calling you an idiot or a potential criminal. Didn't see one fight or altercation. Great atmosphere

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    NZ has a totally broken attitude to alcohol, it does more harm than any other drug. We are caught in this weird state between prohibition and complete freedom that seems to make the whole problem worse.

    You're right, it is broken. This is mainly because, culturally and legally, we don't regard alcohol as a drug.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2813 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Bradford,

    I'm pretty active in the local music scene and have been for years. This seems like a sick joke to be honest. There are very few venues left -- they've been noise-controlled and gentrified and liquor-policed out of existence. Attempts at DIY venues don't last very long because noise control can shut you down any time, at any volume. I know the events arm of the Council are all in favour of "music" generically speaking, but they clamp down hard on the manifestations that it actually takes in a living culture. It's a bit like politicians who ramble on about "families" but enact policies that seem families living on the street.

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2014 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to nzlemming,

    alcohol as a drug

    So, why bother with craft beer and vineyards and maturing single malt whiskies for 20 years? It's just a drug, why don't we just inject pure industrial ethanol into our eyeballs for a quick and cheap hit?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5539 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If one were to inject 60g of ethanol (the amount of alcohol in 120g ounces of 100 proof moonshine) right into the bloodstream, the big difference is the time needed for the alcohol to be absorbed. Instead of taking an hour as would be the case were the alcohol consumed orally, it is all there instantly.

    That’s 60 grams of alcohol straight into the bloodstream containing approximately 5 liters (5k grams) of blood. There will be a moment or two where the blood alcohol concentration is 60 / 5,000 – a toxic, possibly fatal level – before that alcohol diffuses into the water and fat of the entire body and falls by a factor of 10 to 60 / 50,000.

    So to answer your question Rich, there’s really no chemical difference between drinking and taking alcohol intravenously. In both cases you have the drug flowing in the bloodstream. But because of the time difference you would need to be extremely careful about the amount injected. A mistake could be fatal.

    As Bart said:

    NZ has a totally broken attitude to alcohol

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2127 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    So, why bother with craft beer and vineyards and maturing single malt whiskies for 20 years? It's just a drug, why don't we just inject pure industrial ethanol into our eyeballs for a quick and cheap hit?

    So, you're saying alcohol is not a drug? Please cite your evidence.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2813 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Ok, so this might be difficult for people with the reasoning power of a powerful AI. I'll try to speak slowly.

    If I want to take heroin, I'm concerned about the effect. I know the actual experience of jabbing the needle in bit is going to be unpleasantly painful.
    I'm only interested in the purity of the drug.

    If I decide I'd like a glass of the Chateau Musar, it's about $200 a 70cl bottle. That works out at about $2380 a litre of alcohol, of which about $29 is tax.
    If I was, as with the smack, purely in there for the buzz, I could drink industrial ethanol at around $30/litre (almost entirely tax - industrial ethanol is about 40c a litre). Obviously there are some very irrational drug users out there.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5539 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I know the actual experience of jabbing the needle in bit is going to be unpleasantly painful.

    One might suggest snorting or smoking it instead if that’s going to be an issue – which depends on propensity for risk/ nuances of the buzz you’re looking for.

    Would it be white heroin, brown heroin, black tar? Might it be correct to assume your insistence on "purity" is a preference for uncut stock? How much are you prepared to pay? What other socioeconomic/ cultural factors might we need to take into consideration? Would the intention be recreational use or drug abuse?

    Obviously there are some very irrational drug users out there.

    think that’s irrational wait til you hear about food.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2127 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Ok, so this might be difficult for people with the reasoning power of a powerful AI. I'll try to speak slowly.

    Try saying it without being a condescending prat. We might be more receptive. You still haven't answered my question about why you think alcohol is not a drug. With cited references, please.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2813 posts Report Reply

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