Booze dis­pute de­layed

Central Leader - - SPORT - JOSH FA­GAN

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.

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