An eight-year-old child was allegedly high on drugs after New Years celebrations at a Wanaka resort town turned from underage drinking to drug use.
It comes as agencies respond to growing concerns over youths drinking and using drugs in the town following incidents during New Year's festivities, according to the Otago Daily Times.
Queenstown Deputy Mayor Calum MacLeod told the ODT he understood volunteer support people had dealt with a child high on drugs one night during the break.
"That is not acceptable in my patch,” he said. “We need to look at how we are serving that group of people and how we are protecting our reputation as a safe place."
He said there was a "whole body of work that needs to be done in terms of education,” adding, “Where are mum and dad?”
Mr MacLeod said representatives for Red Frogs, a volunteer community network for university students and school leavers, had told him New Year’s Eve in Wanaka was the worst for alcohol or drug intoxication of any area they worked in the country.
Red Frogs spokeswoman Shannon Thomson said while there had been many improvements to the way the council ran the town's New Year's Eve event over the past four years, "when you are dealing with teenagers you never know how they are going to respond".
Wanaka police area response manager Sergeant Miriam Reddington said children and teenagers visiting Wanaka with their families - often from Christchurch, Dunedin and Gore - were frequently allowed to wander around unsupervised, or were monitored by cell phone, and some were supplied with alcohol by their parents.
Meetings with police, the Wanaka Alcohol Group, Red Frogs, Kahu Youth Trust, contractors and the Southern District Health Board on how to tackle the issue next Christmas and New Year's will begin next month, council spokesman Jack Barlow said.