9 Nov 2010

Mayor wants liquor ban around Eden Park enforced

10:25 am on 9 November 2010

Auckland's mayor wants better management of Eden Park crowds and the liquor ban around the venue enforced in light of the drunken chaos at weekend rugby league matches.

Mt Eden residents living near the stadium have complained about the crowd behaviour at Saturday night's Four Nations double-header, considered a test run for the ground ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand played Australia, during which the crowd booed the visitors' national anthem and threw objects onto the pitch on Saturday. Earlier, England played Papua New Guinea.

Mayor Len Brown says he is waiting on reports from police, Eden Park organisers and local residents to get an idea of how well the liquor ban is being enforced.

Mr Brown says Eden Park is probably New Zealand's premier stadium and will continue to host significant sporting events, so it is important "that we manage it as well as we possibly can and to give the neighbours a reasonable go."

The mayor believes there are better ways to manage drunken behaviour, such as supplying low-alcohol beer.

The Eden Park Trust Board on Monday vowed to crack down on intoxicated people entering the stadium.

Eden Park Neighbours Association president Mark Donnelly says the venue has to improve its management.

"They need to stop evicting drunks out of the ground and into the surrounding streets - they need some holding system for them inside the ground. Obviously, the police have to step up and do more for the liquor ban and enforcement of that."

Residents fear there could be a repeat of the alcohol-fuelled chaos during the Rugby World Cup, due to the late kick-off of many games.

Eden Park is to host several matches during the tournament, including the opening game on 9 September between the All Blacks and Tonga, the semifinals, and the final on 23 October.