31 Dec 2014

Thousands set to celebrate in Queenstown

10:54 am on 31 December 2014

More than 100,000 people have poured into Queenstown for tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations, with some staying a special youth park.

Revellers welcome in 2014 in Queenstown. A big crowd is expected for the countdown to 2015.

Revellers welcome in 2014 in Queenstown. A big crowd is expected for the countdown to 2015. Photo: AFP

About 2000 18- to 25-year-olds are staying at a specially set up youth park, where high security is expected to keep them safe.

The initiative is designed to allow young people to have fun but in a controlled environment.

Youth park manager Peter Coppens said alcohol was allowed in cans or plastic bottles but not glass.

He said 30 security guards, and CCTV cameras were in place.

Police numbers have been significantly boosted in Queenstown, and they will be enforcing a 24-hour liquor ban in the public areas of the central business district.

The police are urging New Year's Eve revellers to plan ahead and ensure they don't drive while still impaired tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Police Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff said the key message from the police for New Year's Eve was to have fun but not overdo it.

"Plan so that you're not going to be driving after drinking alcohol but you also think about tomorrow morning, and the fact that it takes a long time for your body to process alcohol, so we don't want people driving - if they've had an awful lot to drink - the following morning, where they will still be impaired and end up hurting themselves or some other innocent person."

The police expected drivers to be aware of new laws which came into effect on 1 December, dropping the allowable blood-alcohol limit from 80 milligrams per millilitre of blood to 50, Mr Cliff said.

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