Booze dispute delayed
A long-running dispute over controversial local alcohol policy looks set to drag on until next year.
The policy, which sets rules on when and where bars and offlicences can open, has been debated and appealed by groups, including the police, who want earlier closing times for pubs and nightclubs.
The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority says it aimed to hear the appeals against the policy in December but it could possibly be pushed back to February 2017.
The pre-hearing conference, run by authority chair Judge Kevin Kelly, looked at the logistical difficulties of bringing in evidence from a wide variety of different parties.
Patrick MacNamara, representing Auckland Council, says its preference was to get the policy hearings held as early as possible.
He says the release of the Unitary Plan has paved the way for ‘‘greater certainty’’ on some lingering issues.
‘‘The council has sought measures to minimise alcohol related harm and delays are of a concern for the council.’’
Kelly says late January or early February was ‘‘probably more realistic’’.
Auckland Council adopted its provisional policy in May 2015, which settled on 4am closing times in the CBD and a two-year freeze on new off-licences.