Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

NEW liquor leg­is­la­tion may be call­ing time on 24-hour liquor li­cences but coun­cil­lor Mike Lee thinks the law change doesn’t go far enough to clean up Auck­land’s ugly booz­ing rep­u­ta­tion.

Bars, restau­rants, cafes and clubs through­out the coun­try will be al­lowed to open be­tween 8am and 4am from De­cem­ber 18.

Bot­tle shops, gro­cery stores and su­per­mar­kets will be al­lowed to open from 7am to 11pm.

Mr Lee would like to see Auck­land bars and clubs re­stricted to a 1am clos­ing time.

‘‘There is a lot of money be­ing made in the early hours of the morn­ing, and that’s OK, but we are all aware of the drunk­en­ness and the vi­o­lence that’s oc­cur­ring dur­ing that time in Auck­land,’’ he says.

‘‘We have to recog­nise that we have a prob­lem and just al­low­ing the river of booze to flow un­til 4am I don’t think is re­spon­si­ble.’’

The coun­cil is de­vel­op­ing a lo­cal al­co­hol pol­icy which will gov­ern the sale, sup­ply or con­sump­tion of al­co­hol in the re­gion.

A draft plan will be re­leased for full pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion early next year with the fi­nal pol­icy to be adopted and im­ple­mented to­wards the end of 2014.

Mr Lee says re­strict­ing al­co­hol trad­ing hours even fur­ther may mean hos­pi­tal­ity out­lets make less money but could save lives and pre­vent in­jury and dam­age.

‘‘Maybe it will re­store Auck­land’s rep­u­ta­tion be­cause what’s hap­pen­ing now is pretty ugly.’’

An al­co­hol-re­lated harms re­search re­port car­ried out by Nielsen for the coun­cil last year found Auck­lan­ders’ at­ti­tudes to in­ter­ven­tion are mixed.

Seventy-four per cent of 2215 res­i­dents sur­veyed agree it is ‘‘too easy for peo­ple to get hold of al­co­hol’’ but more than half say the ‘‘ac­tions of a few ir­re­spon­si­ble drinkers should not be used as a rea­son to re­strict re­spon­si­ble peo­ple from drink­ing’’.

Re­spon­dents rate the in­ner city and the rest of cen­tral Auck­land among the places most af­fected by the neg­a­tive im­pacts of drink­ing, in­clud­ing vi­o­lence and wider eco­nomic costs.

K’ Rd Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion plan­ning man­ager Kathy Mo­ri­arty doesn’t think the new leg­is­la­tion will be detri­men­tal to the en­ter­tain­ment precinct.

‘‘Most peo­ple have had their fill by 4am,’’ she says.

Busi­nesses on the in­fa­mous K’ Rd strip have ac­cepted and are pre­pared for the changes.

‘‘There are prob­a­bly a few who wish it wasn’t hap­pen­ing but we’ve had quite a lot of lead-in so peo­ple are pre­pared.’’

A de­fault clos­ing time could make polic­ing pop­u­lar ar­eas eas­ier, Ms Mo­ri­arty says.

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