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by Silke Hartung

Do We Need A Night Mayor?

by Silke Hartung

Do We Need A Night Mayor?

Last week news broke that London will join other major European cities in appointing a so-called “night mayor” to look after the city’s waning night life.

In 2015, the city of London established a  Music Venues Taskforce to gauge the scope of the problem, and to present London’s Mayor Boris Johnson with solutions. “Their report emphasized the economic value of the U.K.’s nightlife economy—it’s as obvious to me as I think it is to any other 20-something in Corsica Studios at 3 a.m. on a Friday that London’s nightclubs are a totally crucial part of the city’s appeal. To put it in more pragmatic terms, the report found that the U.K.’s nightlife generates £66 billion for the country’s economy every year, and accounts for 8% of employment.”, writes The Fader.

“Since the beginning of Boris’ Johnson’s reign in 2008, London has lost a third of its music venues and the number of clubs across the whole country has dropped from 3,144 in 2005 down to 1,733 last year.” – Supajam.com

Amsterdam night mayor Mirik Milan, “35, a former club promoter, was elected in 2014 by festival-goers, club and bar owners and (in an online vote) the public. Formally, the post – which emerged from projects dating back to 2003 – is as head of a small but influential non-profit foundation funded jointly by city hall and the business community. The instinct of city authorities everywhere when residents complain, Milan says, is to “bring in a curfew, tighten regulations, shut places down, ban stuff. It’s understandable: how can you make good laws if you’re in city hall, with no real clue of what’s happening out there in the night-time? The only way is for the night economy, city hall and residents to figure out, together, how to make it work”, The Guardian reports.

Brian Rudman of the NZ Herald thought about the concept in an Auckland context this March. “So let’s not wipe the Night Mayor concept without checking it out. Before the Night Mayor, the late night “war zone” of [Amsterdam’s] Rembrandtplein was experiencing up to 300 recorded violent incidents each year. As in Auckland now, and Sydney’s Kings Cross back in 2013-2014 after two young men died in violent bashings, the call was for more controls, earlier closing hours and more policing. In Sydney, the state government rushed through restrictive laws. The outcome has been that over 40 venues around Kings Cross have closed, basically killing this legendary late night music and party heartland.”

Then in April RNZ‘s Jesse Mulligan talked to researcher Jason Krupp of the New Zealand Initiative business think tank about the idea in a New Zealand context.

Do you think a night mayor would make difference for the nightlife in  places like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, particularly for musicians and music venues?