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Kaye to meet with police to discuss K' Rd

Thu 27 Jan 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Nikki Kaye at last year's Big Gay Out Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye will tomorrow meet with senior police to discuss concerns from the GLBT community about the level of violence on Karangahape Rd. There is anecdotal evidence of an increase in the frequency and scale of violence at Auckland's gay nightlife hub. Gay men have been the victims of apparently random attacks over the past few months and while there is no evidence they were targeted due to their sexuality, the fact gay men who frequent K' Rd have been drawn into the violence has left many in the GLBT community feeling uneasy about their safety. The most recent victim is Simon Stockley, a poster designer for men's bar Urge, who was pushed into traffic in front of Scorpio bar on Sunday 16 January. He is currently recovering from knee reconstruction surgery. People spoken to on K' Rd by Daily News staff tend to agree that the violence is being driven by drunk young men who come into the city looking for a fight. has raised the community's concerns about K' Rd with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who is well aware the city has issues when it comes to alcohol. "My understanding is that there have been longstanding issues in the CBD regarding disorderly behaviour and intoxicated people." Kaye will meet with senior Auckland Central police on Friday to discuss the perceived level of violence on K' Rd. She wants to see crime statistics for the area to see if there has been a particular increase in certain types of offences: "Because then I can have a discussion with police about resource in the area of K' Rd. But I think the main thing I want to say is that I think it has been a longstanding issue and that I don't think there's going to be a silver bullet to this. I actually think that we've got to take a multi-pronged approach, from a council perspective, a police perspective and a national perspective in terms of our policy." The National MP is hopeful that the wide-ranging changes to alcohol laws the Government's proposing will help, particularly the plan to give communities more power to decide on the concentration, location, and hours of alcohol outlets. "One of the issues that has been raised with me, in regards to the K' Rd area, is the proliferation of off-licence outlets," she says. Submissions are being taken until mid-February on the Alcohol Law Reform Bill and Kaye hopes people concerned about the number of liquor outlets in the K' Rd area will have their say. "I think that this is probably a good example as to where people see more intoxicated people on the street as a result of that," she says. Kaye also wants to look at how design can be used to deal street drinking. "There's anecdotal evidence that people are parking up in their cars and getting pretty drunk. And I need to chat to the police about that, and potentially the council, to see whether there's anything we can do to alleviate that situation." While acknowledging it can be hard to report a crime when you are a victim and in a state of shock, Kaye says it's really important to do so. "So that both decision makers, but also the police, have a better understanding, if people are targeting the GLBT community." Kaye has already received emails since the initial concerns about the situation on K' Rd were raised on and she says she continues to have an open door policy. "I'm listening. But it is about action as well. So I'm interested firstly in talking to police to get their views as to the actual scale of the issue. I do think there is a problem. I think it's been longstanding. But I also want to talk to all of the different parties involved, to see whether we can take an approach from different angles." You can contact Nykki Kaye at: Urge will this weekend run a collection for both Simon Stockley, and the lesbian couple whose business was burnt down in an apparent hate crime in Mangawhai Heads.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 27th January 2011 - 1:55pm

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