Call for booze ban

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Boozy be­hav­iour: Mt Al­bert MP David Shearer is or­gan­is­ing a pe­ti­tion to in­tro­duce a liquor ban at the Mt Al­bert town cen­tre.

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