Dunedin resident Carol Devine, whose role in the widely-criticised 2015 TVNZ Sunday piece “Party Central” made her public enemy number one for many Otago students, has hit headlines again this week after another complaint of excessive noise from students who live near her house.
Carol and her husband Richard complained to the ODT about a graduation party at 8a View Street next door to her house, which is also a Bed & Breakfast. They said the late night disruption and littering could “kill our fledgling business.”
Residents told Critic that there were 100-200 attendees, and that while they received one noise complaint, it was remedied after moving a speaker to the back of the house and turning the volume down.
“It wasn’t too much noise. It was a pretty standard party really,” a resident of the neighbouring flat, 8b View St, said. After the ODT published the article, residents at 8b received a Notice to Remedy from their landlord Colin MacLaren, informing them that hosting any more parties could lead to a termination of their lease. The residents say they did not throw the party, it was hosted by their neighbours in 8a.
In 2015, Sunday reported on Carol’s complaints about The Backpackers, a different flat near her house on View St. Many students felt the piece was unbalanced and unfair to students, with much more focus given to Carol and her complaints than to student voices.
Then-OUSA President Paul Hunt was interviewed at length for the segment, but none of his comments were used. Hunt claimed the reason was that “it was a predetermined story where they deliberately cast students in a negative light. The only opportunity students got [to defend themselves] was when [Sunday] barged onto their private property and stuck a microphone in their face.”