23 Aug 2008

Dunedin police confident no mass rioting

10:41 pm on 23 August 2008

Police in Dunedin are confident there will be no mass rioting among students who have arrived in the city for an unofficial "Undie 500" car rally.

Police from all over the lower South Island were brought in for the weekend after riots erupted over last year's Christchurch to Dunedin student car rally. A temporary liquor ban is in place in north Dunedin.

This year's unofficial "Undie 500" car rally involves driving cars bought for less than $500.

The event was cancelled this year, on its 20th anniversary, after last year's "Undie 500" weekend ended in rioting and 70 arrests.

Police say up to 40 cars arrived in Dunedin on Friday night.

Inspector Dave Campbell says the number of students is lower than last year. He says five students were arrested for disorderly behaviour on Friday night and three fires were lit.

On Saturday afternoon, large numbers of students in Castle Street and other parts of north Dunedin were drinking and enjoying the sunshine in their front yards.

Polytechnic Students' Association co-president Ryan Ward says mass disorder at last year's "Undie 500" damaged the reputation of all Dunedin students.

The association is threatening to expel any of its members found guilty of illegal activities during any "Undie 500" related events.