The weather hasn't been the best of late, ruining many people's New Year's Eve but certainly not mine. We took the kids to Auckland for the weekend. We visited Kelly Tarlton's on New Year's Eve and Rainbow's End on New Year's Day, only had a little bit of rain, no queues, and no booze was needed to have a fantastic time.
Last year I took my little boys to the Mount for New Year but we left before dark. They got scared because of all the drunk and obnoxious teenagers falling everywhere. It was an experience not to be repeated. Speaking of which, my 8-year-old son, who was just tall enough, says he'll also never ride The Invader at Rainbow's End ever again. Not in a million years.
It was probably for the best that the party at the Mount got cancelled this year because of the rain. Police and emergency services had a relatively quiet run and that is good news. Even though the doctors and nurses at the Emergency Department at Tauranga Hospital say it was an uncharacteristically quiet New Year's Eve for them, they sure had plenty of misery to deal with on the night.
Our reporter Sam Boyer wrote a feature about the ED on New Year's morning, which you can find here, along with a gallery of great images taken by Bay of Plenty Times photographer Joel Ford. As soon as the story went online, the comments started coming in.
"It's disgusting that most of these are young people wasting our country's money and resources because of drunken behaviour. Hopefully the injuries wake some of them up," said globetrecker from Maungatapu.
And TheThinker commented: "This situation will continue to get worse until the decision is taken to treat differently people who turn up to Accident and Emergency drunk (say over the driving limit). It may sound tough but they should immediately go to the back of the queue and staff should make sure any treatment is felt. I'm sure that within a few years word would get out and behaviour be improved."
Ron Manager from Welcome Bay said: "@TheThinker: at the moment it's not a crime to be drunk in public so there's no such thing as personal responsibility. It's everyone else's fault!
"I'm with you with regard to treating the drunken yobs at the hospital. Imagine if you were a young mum with a sick baby, or an elderly person, turning up to A&E; and being intimidated by these awful people? And then seeing them get preferential treatment because the squeaky (or loud and obnoxious) wheel gets the grease.
"Drunks should have a separate waiting room."
I'm glad I'm not a nurse at the ED. Imagine having to put up with all of that at work. No thank you. Or imagine working in a pub on a night like that, missing out on all the fun and having to clean up the vomit by the end of it.
I'd rather write stories and organise a website.
Another story that received a huge number of comments was one written by Michele McPherson about a Mount Maunganui businessman who is trying to rent out his fleet of Porsches to cruise ship passengers. He says he is tired of paying parking tickets and feels that the council rules are getting in the way.
While I am writing this, there are 37 comments on the story. I think that is a record. There is a great discussion online about Tourism Bay of Plenty, council rules, and individual tour operators. It sure makes interesting reading, so if you haven't seen it, you can find it in the business section on our website. If you'd like to share your own opinion on this, or any other story online, feel free to have your say.