Tourist spots brace for beer-soaked Crate Day

If you are planning on celebrating Crate Day in downtown Queenstown, you better change your plans.

The town has put a 24-hour alcohol ban in place, prompted by disorderly behaviour in 2016.

Mayor Jim Boult says the public needs to feel safe.

"Families and children are around, so it's not a good thing. Last year we made a decision - we're doing it again."

Those who break the rules will face a $250 fine.

Crate Day is an annual event, held the first Saturday of December, celebrating the start of summer. It's hosted by MediaWorks-owned radio station The Rock, which says it's about "sharing a crate with your mates, whacking some meat on the barbie, playing some highly competitive backyard cricket, and of course, listening to The Rock VERY LOUDLY".

But some revellers treat it as a challenge to drink a whole crate by themselves - 12 large bottles of beer, about nine litres.

Boult says downtown Queenstown is a popular tourism spot, so a ban is necessary.

"It does not send a good signal to our visitors when you've got this sort of behaviour going on in a downtown area."

The town hasn't forgotten the horrors of 2016.

"Crate Day simply got out of hand. Lots of complaints from the public, police were called, bad behaviour, bad language, people fighting and like. We just don't want that happening in our downtown area."

In recent years, alcohol campaigners have called for the event to be canned altogether.

"It's time that this campaign came to an end. It causes too much harm to individuals and to communities," Nicki Jackson from Alcohol Healthwatch told Newshub in 2017.

Jackson said those promoting Crate Day should be held responsible for the costs.

"Start paying the bills for the emergency department admissions, the ambulance callouts, the police callouts. When are the campaign owners, the marketers, going to take responsibility for this campaign?"

There are also liquor bans in place in parts of Auckland, particularly on the North Shore. Seventeen people were arrested at a Crate Day party in 2018, and 29 at a single gathering at Stanmore Bay in 2016.

Last year's public event in Whangaparaoa  was shut down by police, fearing carnage in the wake of social media star Johnny Danger's death. 


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