Sending in the SAS is one way of restoring law and order at Eden Park. Alf prefers another option – sending in Mozart.
He was disappointed to hear of the need to beef up security and police presence at the park to prevent a recurrence of the weekend mayhem created by drunken louts. But he was by no means surprised.
He regards Auckland as an uncivilised city and Aucklanders as an uncouth bunch (with some admirable exceptions), an opinion reinforced by their choice of a mayor for their Super City.
What happened at the weekend accordingly should have been foreseen, but the Herald reports –
Stadium managers say they will learn from the Four Nations rugby league debacle, which left some of the 44,500 fans declaring they would never return to watch another game there after bottles and missiles were thrown at players and spectators.
Disgusted fans contacted the Herald and vented their anger online yesterday.
Eden Park Neighbours Association president Mark Donnelly labelled the stadium’s management “incompetent”.
“People were getting tanked up before they went in … The liquor ban was a complete mockery. There were bottles all over the place … They’ve really got to step up and run a proper venue. It was a shambles.”
Rugby Cup Minister Murray McCully is on the case and has called for a report on the match, which both he and Prime Minister John Key labelled “disappointing”.
Mr Key said the disorderly behaviour was “not how we want to showcase the country when we host the third biggest sporting event in the world”.
“At the end of the day, there are always those risks that someone in the crowd does something stupid, but I think people have to understand that if they do then … that will almost certainly see people removed from the Rugby World Cup.”
Eden Park CEO David Kennedy says management plans to be more proactive and will have more police and security in future.
But Alf reckons something more drastic is needed.
He heard someone on Radio NZ’s Morning Report come up with the bright idea of deploying the SAS to help keep control at the park.
This is an admirable proposal, because it seems the SAS has been reduced to holding fundraisers for soldiers and their families.
We learn of its financial needs from another Herald report which says –
It was revealed this weekend the SAS held a training day with 70 people from Direct Capital Ltd and associated companies at the Papakura Military Camp on October 28.
For $35,000 – $500 per person – participants were given a glimpse of SAS culture, used SAS firearms to shoot at human cut-outs and drank cocktails with war hero Corporal Willie Apiata.
Direct Capital had “indicated a desire” to make a charitable donation to the NZSAS Trust, established in 2004 to support past and present SAS soldiers and their families.
The Mt Eden management mob should spring a few bucks to hire the Willie and the SAS for crowd control.
If Defence Minister Wayne Mapp endorsed this, he would get good public support and could reject Labour griper Pete Hodgson’s call to ask the SAS not to hire themselves out to private interests.
But Christchurch has a better answer.
The introduction of speakers playing Mozart and other classical music in City Mall in June 2009 has led to a steep fall in petty crime, according to mall managers.
A before and after comparison of figures reveals the number of anti-social incidents attended by city centre security guards (or ambassadors) down from 77 a week in October 2008 to two for the same week this year.
Drug and alcohol-related incidents fell from 16 in 2008 to zero this year and the number of times security helped shopkeepers with troublesome customers has fallen from 35 to zero.
The statistics include all incidents attended between Oxford Tce, Manchester, Hereford and Lichfield streets, but most incidents were in City Mall.
Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite reckons the music has created an environment conducive to good behaviour.
Alf will be having a chat with McCully today about calming Auckland rugby crowds with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Mass in C Minor – a splendid piece of work – or some such.