Woody's Word | Issue 6

Woody's Word | Issue 6

Hating on Hyde

T he Hyde Street Keg Party (HSKP) has come and gone for another year. 12 arrests, 50 treated for injuries and intoxication, six off to hospital, one ambulance out of action for a week.

On one level you might think that, given 4,000 students attended the event, this might not be a bad outcome for the day. Of course, those statistics mask other more concerning effects. Most would have woken up hungover, some would have added to what will become an addiction, and it is possible a number of unplanned sexual connections occurred.

The last thing I want to do is sound like a champion for the wowser brigade. My social liberal leanings drive me to the view that if you want to drink till youíre sick, fill your boots. Do what you want as long as it doesnít affect me.

Only it does affect me. The most conservative estimate of the cost of policing the event, providing ambulances and other taxpayer-funded services is $125,000. Not only does that come out of the taxpayerís pocket but those valuable and limited resources are diverted away from other policing and healthcare work.

Some have pointed out that HSKP is no different to other events that require emergency service support, such as a Highlanders game or a concert. I donít agree for two reasons: firstly, probably around six police would have attended last weekís Highlanders game ó about 50 police attended HSKP. Secondly, a concert or sports game has that as its primary purpose; the choice to consume alcohol at the event is a secondary activity. HSKP is specifically designed to drink excessively.

Itís not presently allowed in law, but would adding a $35 tariff to the ticket price to cover the cost of emergency services moderate behaviour, either yours or that of the person next to you? Food for thought, but if present behaviour persists HSKP will go the same way as the Undie 500. Can we have events like this without the booze-filled disorder and negative health effects? Over to you.

The Easter break is coming up and itís hard to believe the semester is already half done. Enjoy the break, have fun and stay safe.
This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2015.
Posted 3:11pm Sunday 29th March 2015 by Michael Woodhouse.