About 18 months ago I wrote an article in support of raising the drinking age — and the state of the drinking culture in our town. My belief was, and still is, that the drinking age should be raised to 20.
Now I am writing this article because one of our local boys has been killed in the most senseless of acts — he is someone’s son, brother, grandson and boyfriend.
Izak Millanta was a friend of my daughter and a large number of others who are all struggling to get their heads around this horrific chain of events.
‘ No longer safe… after dark’
I have lived in Paraparaumu most of life and it saddens me to see what used to be a sleepy little seaside town where it was safe to walk down the street at night becoming a town that houses violence and destruction. It’s no longer safe to be on the street after dark.
When I wrote my last article, I had just witnessed a mini riot after closing time at the Village Inn. A group of intoxicated teens went on a rampage up Raumati Rd destroying business frontages, letterboxes and anything that was in their path. Is this what is now deemed as fun and entertaining? In defence of the Village Inn the Publican at the time took quick measures to ensure this wouldn’t happen again.
We have a series of growing problems in our town and unless something is done about it I fear these will get worse. There is a distinct lack of entertainment for teens in Kapiti. It also takes too long to get a taxi at certain times of the night (this played a major part in the Raumati Rd incident — too many intoxicated people standing around waiting to leave).
Host responsibility applies when you open a bar and are supplying people with alcohol. You have an obligation to obey the Liquor Licensing Laws and also to ensure the safety of your patrons.
When the Retro Bar first opened they were telling people that this bar was aimed at the mature crowd, the music was 70’s and 80’s, and they were all geared up to lure back the mature locals who went into Wellington to get away from the “kiddie culture” that seems to inadvertently take over any popular venue on the Coast. To go there now, any self respecting 30-plus-year-old could be forgiven for feeling over the hill.
Having witnessed on several occasions a variety of altercations and underage drinking in and around this particular bar, I question how much responsibility is being taken.
Witnessing fights, an attempted stabbing and young girls vomitting
I personally have seen fights, an attempted stabbing, and young girls vomiting in the car park — and I am aware there was an attempted shooting that stemmed from there.
This bar is well known by the local community for its unsavoury reputation and I am indifferent to their claims about the car park being responsible.
Montieth’s shares the same car park they have very few incidents there — and incidents they do have are dealt with swiftly. Maybe they have less trouble because they close earlier? Just because you have a licence to 3am doesn’t mean you have to stay open till then, especially when you are having recurrent problems.
My question to them is: If you know something is a problem, why ignore it?
I have children; and one lives in the US where it is illegal to drink under the age of 21 (she fully agrees with this stance).
My other daughter is about to turn 18. It’s legal for her to drink in Kapiti and I will fear for her safety every time she goes out. Is this the kind of community we want our children growing up in? I don’t think so.
I say to the bar owners: ‘Take the appropriate measures to protect your Patrons — they are the ones keeping you in business!’
To Izak Millanta’s family, I say: “We are so terribly sorry for your loss and our thoughts are with you.”