Joint statement from Wellington Police, Wellington City Council, First Retail and Wellington hospitality representatives:
A response to recent violent behaviour in Courtenay Place was discussed yesterday at a solutions seeking meeting hosted by Wellington Mayor Andy Foster.
Representatives of Police, First Retail, Wellington hospitality and city councillors and staff met to discuss the need for a more strategic approach to the management of the night time economy building on the previous work by the Night Time Economy Forum which worked to manage alcohol related harm in the central city.
Issues discussed at the meeting included increased violence-related crime and anti-social behaviour impacting on hospitality staff and patrons, lighting, derelict buildings, crowded walkways, access to early morning public transport and the need for greater support of safe zones.
“A resolution to Courtenay Place issues requires a broad community approach around health, behaviour, design, enforcement and individual responsibility,” says Mayor Foster.
The meeting resolved to revitalise the Night Time Forum, explore actions relating to CCTV monitoring, increased support for the work of Take 10 and looking at how initiatives within the Let’s Get Wellington programme can be harnessed to create a safer and vibrant Courtenay Place for all Wellingtonians.
“I’m really pleased that we got the opportunity to sit around the table in an honest and open way,” says Matt McLaughlin, Hospitality NZ Wellington branch president.
“The hospitality industry, Council and Police are all on the same team and wanting the same outcome, a vibrant but safe night time economy where everyone feels safe and is safe. We understand the important part the industry can play in keeping the city safe, we see ourselves as part of the solution to the problems. I am looking forward to getting the Night Time Economy Forum back together again and working through the ideas that we have shared and heard today.”
Chris Wilkinson of First Retail says: “It’s important that Courtenay Place is a safe and welcoming environment for all our community and visitors. We are pleased that this collaboration will support and enable these goals.”
“Wellington Police welcomes the opportunity to continue working collaboratively with the Council and the city’s hospitality industry, says Acting Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett.
“As a partnership, we all have the same goal – to make Wellington a safe and vibrant city to live in and visit. We all bring a different area of expertise to the table and this meeting was an important step towards achieving positive long-term solutions for our community.”
“Members of the Courtenay Place meeting group have agreed to focus on injecting further energy into developing Courtenay Place as a community asset,” says Mayor Foster.
The group agreed to review progress in September.