Call for booze ban
PUBLIC concern over daytime drinking at the Mt Albert shops has prompted local MP David Shearer to take action.
At the start of October the Auckland City Council introduced an all-hours liquor ban in many town centres including the central city, Avondale, Blockhouse Bay, Mt Eden, Onehunga, Ponsonby and Pt Chevalier.
But a handful of suburbs, including Mt Albert, were left out.
Mr Shearer is seeking more protection for the area from the council after a number of constituents expressed concern about the drinking that goes on along New North Rd and at the train station.
“I was a bit surprised to see Mt Albert was not included as a liquor ban area,” he says.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Mt Albert shops and not had someone come up and mention it to me.”
The first step Mr Shearer is taking to get a liquor ban introduced is organising a petition to let the council know residents are worried about the boozy behaviour.
“A lot of kids walk through here between Mt Albert Grammar and the train station. I don’t think kids should have to walk past that sort of thing.”
He says older residents have told him they feel intimidated by the behaviour of those drinking on the street, while shop owners say it has an effect on their businesses.
Mt Albert community constable Darren Calkin says a 24-hour liquor ban at the Mt Albert shops would help prevent some of the problems that have been occurring.
“The liquor bans that are in place appear to be having an effect and give the police another tool to do their duties.”
Mr Calkin says beefing up police numbers in trouble spots does seem to reduce the amount of people drinking during the day.
But he says liquor bans are useful because it means those drinking are actually committing an offence.
“Otherwise they have to be acting in a disorderly manner before you can do too much.”
Ray White Mt Albert manager Catherine Goodwin says she’s disappointed the council didn’t include the New North Rd shops on its list of liquor ban areas.
“The predominant demographic in the area is families, but children are not allowed to go there because it’s not a comfortable environment.”
She says removing the drunks from the shopping area would be the first step in revitalising the village as a shopping precinct.
Another concerned New North Rd business owner, who did not want to be named, says he’s seen shoppers suffer verbal abuse from the drinkers.
“It is a big problem here and the public have complained.
“They sit there asking for money, which is not good for business.”
The petition organised by Mr Shearer will be available for members of the public to sign at Ray White Mt Albert and the Trinity of Silver Cafe during the next few days.
The Auckland City Council did not respond to questions by deadline.
Boozy behaviour: Mt Albert MP David Shearer is organising a petition to introduce a liquor ban at the Mt Albert town centre.