Mt Maunganui New Year's event scrapped by Tauranga City Council

  • 04/10/2016
New Year's Eve fireworks at Mt Maunganui (Tauranga City Council / Facebook)
New Year's Eve fireworks at Mt Maunganui (Tauranga City Council / Facebook)

Tauranga City Council (TCC) has voted it will no longer offer an organised New Year's Eve event at Mt Maunganui's main beach.

At an extraordinary council meeting late on Tuesday afternoon, the council carried a recommendation to review a long-term approach for the holiday event and will focus solely on putting measures in place that enhance a safe environment in the area.

The decision has angered some local business owners, who say they weren't consulted by the council over the issue.

"Why didn't someone communicate with the members, with the street and the retailers?" Main Street Association chairperson Jane Debenham told Newshub.

"We're an iconic destination, we're an internationally known destination and people arrive here expecting something to be on on New Year's Eve, and all of a sudden there's nothing."

Ms Debenham says cancelling the iconic event could lead to increased crime on the streets at New Years, and even riots.

"To me, opening up the alleyway of boredom often creates and encourages crime, and we're all passionate about our street and the last thing we want to see is a repeat of any riots we've seen previously," she said.

"There's been no trouble in recent years, and if there has been I haven't seen any.

"It feels like a rushed decision right before the local elections," she said.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby told Newshub the council's decision was based purely on safety.

"It's really just been in the last two or three years we've notice a lot of alcohol-related issues particularly with assaults and sexual assaults, and that's indicative of New Zealand society at the moment. 

"It's not just a Mount Maunganui issue, it's a New Zealand issue. But we have responsibilities to our community and our visitors to make sure they're safe, so we're reformatting the event."

Mayor Crosby says the council's decision wasn't about trying to save ratepayers' money.

"It wasn't a money issue, we're going to invest quarter of a million dollars more on New Year's Eve alone, so it's primarily about public safety. The last thing we want is a serious injury, if not a fatality as a result of holding a Tauranga City council event."

There's already been an immediate backlash to the council's decision, with local teenager Katy Muir saying: "I think it's a real silly idea, all through the year everyone's like 'what are you going to do for New Years?' - well I'm going down to the Mount because it's such a big thing that happens every year.

"It's a really silly decision to just change that without talking to anyone."

The change means no organised event at the Mount's main beach, but the council will still be delivering midnight fireworks from a central city location.

There'll also be a youth event at ASB Arena, underwritten by TCC and delivered by Bay Venues.