Al­co­hol move pleases

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

A RE­THINK on how late Auck­land’s sub­ur­ban bars can stay open is be­ing hailed by Kings­land busi­nesses.

Chair­man of the Kings­land Busi­ness So­ci­ety Steve Gillett says the group has been push­ing back at a pro­posal for on-li­cences to close at 1am.

And it seems those in­ves­ti­gat­ing the new rules have lis­tened.

The pro­posed Lo­cal Al­co­hol Pol­icy has been through public feed­back and hear­ings.

Auck­land Coun­cil needs to re­view the pro­vi­sional pol­icy, which sug­gests on-li­cences be al­lowed to stay open un­til 3am.

It’s a dif­fer­ent story for on­li­cences in the city cen­tre.

Bars and clubs there will be al­lowed to stay open un­til 4am if the rec­om­men­da­tions are adopted by coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lor Bill Cash­more, who led the pol­icy de­bate, says trust will play a role in en­sur­ing li­cence hold­ers com­ply with new rules.

‘‘As a grow­ing city with more metro cen­tres, a closing time of 3am is ap­pro­pri­ate for the rest of the city.’’

Gillett, who opened The Kings­lan­der bar a decade ago, says a 3am closing time will take the pres­sure off public trans­port net­works.

He says busi­nesses are con­cerned a 1am closing time could see buses and trains crammed with in­tox­i­cated pun­ters.

The ex­tra two hours will see the com­mute home stag­gered and keep the streets clear of cus­tomers, he says.

For big nights, such as the Cricket World Cup semi­fi­nal at Eden Park on March 24, a 1am cur­few would have throt­tled busi­ness, he says.

‘‘For us that means that they come over at 11.30pm and af­ter an hour-and-a-half we’d have to tell them to go home.

‘‘I’m happy they’ve seen some sense,’’ he says of the pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions.

The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is al­ready strug­gling with new legal al­co­hol lim­its for driv­ers, as it re­stricts how much cus­tomers will spend, Gillett says.

A spe­cial rule has been sug­gested for Re­turned and Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tions, which may be al­lowed to open at 5am on An­zac Day.

Gillett says the spe­cial rule could be ex­tended to in­clude other on-li­cences for in­ter­na­tional events, such as the Rugby World Cup in Europe later this year, where a time zone dif­fer­ence sees kick off of­ten at 5am NZ time.

The pol­icy will be pub­lished in May. Af­ter the ap­peals process in June, a fi­nal pol­icy will be signed off by coun­cil. Con­cerns about the con­nec­tion be­tween al­co­hol and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour were aired dur­ing hear­ings last year.

Mayor Len Brown says he doesn’t want to com­ment on the pol­icy un­til the process is com­plete.

Brown says the pro­posed pol­icy will give com­mu­ni­ties greater say on al­co­hol sales and his at­ti­tude to­wards al­co­hol was spurred by ‘‘the con­ver­sion of dairies into bot­tle shops left, right and cen­tre’’ in the early 1990s.

Auck­land City Po­lice Dis­trict Com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Mike Cle­ment spoke at one of the pol­icy hear­ings in Septem­ber and told the Auck­land City Har­bour News of po­lice con­cerns.

‘‘The link be­tween al­co­hol and vi­o­lence is un­de­ni­able.’’

New Zealand Po­lice sup­ports much of the pol­icy but does not agree with the ex­tended hours.


Kings­land Busi­ness So­ci­ety chair­man Steve Gillett, who owns The Kings­lan­der, sup­ports a pro­posed 3am cur­few for on-li­cences out­side of the CBD.

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