Is End of Year Fun a Crime?

October 16th 2012 at 10:30am, By Dave Guerin

I’d hate people to get the idea that university students’ end of year celebrations were just about arrests and not fun.

The Police had complete control of the media spin last Friday in Christchurch as their arrest numbers soared for the day. It was 40 arrests at 5 pm Friday, 60 arrests in an early story on Saturday and 73 arrests a little later, while there were many other updates across different media outlets. The numerous arrests were mostly for liquor ban breaches (ie holding a drink in a public space), which seems a bit like shooting fish in a barrel when you have an outside party on a residential campus. The Police had had a liquor ban arrest campaign going already, arresting 75 people in the week before the party. It may well have been a reasonable response to reduce risk (students were just given warnings), but I’d hate it to dominate people’s perceptions of the last day of term.

Canta, the Canterbury student newspaper, published a great story yesterday. There are about 30 words and about 140 photos. They are fabulous photos too, of people having a great time, having spent a lot of time and effort on their costumes to mark the end of an important stage in their lives. I challenge you to scroll through those photos and not experience a few smiles. Just imagine how the mainstream media could have covered that – and it might even have been news, unlike another predictable mass media beat-up of drinking problems.

3 Responses to Is End of Year Fun a Crime?


Eric Crampton

October 16th, 2012 at 10:39 am

Last Friday was very distracting. An endless parade of costumed students strolling past the window. They looked like they were having a ridiculously good time.

But fun is bad these days.



October 16th, 2012 at 10:43 am

Amongst my worries with this kind of response from authorities is that it is what you can do easily that may look good rather than what you should do to try and get at the minority poor behaviour that matters the most. It risks the accusation of being politics rather than policing.


Dave Guerin

October 16th, 2012 at 10:50 am

Ta guys, I may do a few more posts now that I have handed off 90% of the work on the daily news posts. Blogging might be more fun than a daily chore to be done!

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