With some justification the local politicians in Dunedin are a little nervous. Nervous because they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t with regard to looking like they are authoritative and in control of the students in Dunedin.
Remember with the Polytec and Uni combined there are roughly 23,000 students in Dunedin, seemingly all are running amock if you are to believe the local council and media. With the ability to find ‘concerned of North Dunedin’ every year we are told that those bloody students are terrorising the local citizens with their drunken antics.
the latest story to get media coverage has been the infamous Undie 500. For those who don’t know it, there is a ‘slow race’/rally between ChCh Uni and Otago every year. It’s been going for donkey’s ages and for the most part is one hell of a hoot (if you are 19 and like that sort of thing). It involves a car that costs less than $500 and getting it to Dunedin if possible, where there is one huge piss up.
Over the last couple of years there has been a tendency during the week-end festivities for things to get out of control and the stupid (but onetime funny) tradition of hauling out the flats couch and burning it on the streets has now become boring and over done. These fires piss most people off, the council, other residents, the fire brigade and of course the ‘concerned’ citizens hunted out by the media.
But what has been the local council’s response to this event, ban it? How can you ban something that you don’t run and don’t have the authority to ban? However if they do have the authority to ban the Undie 500, I would either like to see that power overturned or at least applied to our home grown boy racers.
I would have thought the way to go would have been to normalise/corporatise the event. Get a brewery on board and make the thing so main stream that only those interested in the ‘engineering’ of the event is back to the forefront. Run by the engineering society of canterbury students, this was originally a stunt to for engineering excellence. Get the councils involved along the route, get towns sponsoring the even, prizes etc etc and at the end of it make more money out of the students and throw a party. With a little imagination it would work. I mean get a charity on board and get the little dears collecting money all the way down the mainland, sort of student version of the Variety Club?
I fail to see how ‘banning’ this event will stop the thing going ahead at all. Of course if it was banned the challenge to any smart arsed student is to see how they can do the thing anyway, and of course become legends in their own happy hour.
Any attempt to ban this event just looks reactionary and appeasing the terrorised locals, whom would do better with a council and Mayor who had the ability to thing out of the box and find a way to normalise and thus control the event, rather than trying to look all authoritative, but whom will of course will be made to look stupid once again. The event will go ahead with or without official permission and those at the end in Dunedin will only be even more hyped up for anti-social behavior on the saturday night.
Well done Mayor Chin, fail this course and repeat the year again. Imagination 101 = D fail.