Three stabbings mar festivities in city
WELLINGTON saw in the new year with three stabbings just before midnight.
Police received reports of a double stabbing near Wellington railway station at 11.50pm, in which one man was stabbed three times. Senior Sergeant Gerry Broughton, of the Wellington central communications unit, said police were investigating another stabbing in Featherston St soon afterwards.
Liquor bans in holiday trouble spots around New Zealand seemed to be working last night, with police reporting few problems from New Year revellers before the clock struck 12.
Police in Wellington, Napier, Taupo, Nelson and Mt Maunganui said most people had complied with the restrictions, brought in to control disorderly drinkers, and few arrests had been made.
Just before midnight, Mt Maunganui police had arrested 65 people for disorder offences. Senior Sergeant Duncan MacLeod said most of those arrested were young people who had breached the liquor ban.
Wellington police were kept busy by a stream of minor incidents early in the evening as the central city filled with revellers. Mr Broughton said the night had been fairly quiet, but police were on standby for trouble as celebrations continued on into the early hours of today.
No problems were reported from The Gathering dance party near Takaka, attended by more than 6500 people.
In Auckland, television presenter Suzy Aiken opened the popular Good Morning America television show with a live feed of New Year celebrations from the Viaduct Basin. More than five million American households watch the show every day at 7am. Aiken described her ad lib piece as an opportunity to be "a walking tourism billboard" for New Zealand.
"I'll try not to sound too much like an advertisement but I do intend to do my damnedest to do a plug for New Zealand at every opportunity," she said.
She hoped to be able to talk about yachting's America's Cup, Auckland's role as a stopover for the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race fleet and the success of the first film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Caption: ANDREW GORRIE Sharlene Christian and Franz Fruean celebrate the new year with thousands of others at Wellington's Civic Square