Wine rul­ing ‘in­sane’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A cou­ple who lost their bat­tle to sell their award-win­ning fruit wines at North City Shop­ping Cen­tre say the de­ci­sion is ‘‘in­sane’’ and ‘‘lack­ing in com­mon sense’’.

Da­mon Pratt and Alisha Phelps run Ruahine Wines, not far from Dan­nevirke. They ap­plied for, and re­ceived, a spe­cial li­cence to sell their wine and port at North City through­out De­cem­ber – un­opened, in gift packs – to help com­mem­o­rate the win­ery’s first birth­day, but this was ap­pealed by po­lice.

They had pre­vi­ously been granted a li­cence to run a stall in the mall for 12 days dur­ing the Rugby World Cup, but the De­cem­ber stall has been deemed an ‘‘event’’.

Se­nior Sergeant Steve Sar­gent said in his re­port to last Thurs­day’s Porirua City Coun­cil com­mit­tee meet­ing that ‘‘ 24 days seems ex­ces­sive for a birth­day cel­e­bra­tion’’, and the pe­riod ran con­trary to what an event rep­re­sented un­der the Sale of Liquor Act. What Ruahine Wines wanted to do re­quired an off-li­cence, he con­cluded.

Mr Pratt and Ms Phelps spoke to coun­cil­lors dur­ing pub­lic speak­ing time, plead­ing for an ex­cep­tion. They used dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tions of what an event was, said PCC was ‘‘mis­ap­ply- ing’’ the act and called the sit­u­a­tion ‘‘ex­tremely frus­trat­ing’’.

They face the same op­po­si­tion to run a stall at The Plaza, in Palmer­ston North.

‘‘We are al­lowed to do tast­ings [which they did from De­cem­ber 1-7 in Porirua] but we can’t have an un­opened bot­tle of wine. For peo­ple to use credit cards and or­der from our web­site, in­stead of pay­ing cash or us­ing eft­pos, is in­sane. We’re not re­strict­ing the flow of traf­fic or en­cour­ag­ing drink­ing in pub­lic.’’

They pro­duced let­ters of sup­port from Wairarapa MP John Hayes, Tararua Mayor Roly El­lis and North City man­age­ment.

Porirua City coun­cil­lors made their de­ci­sion in se­cret af­ter the is­sue was moved into non-pub­lic busi­ness.

The coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of environment and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, David Rolfe, told Kapi­Mana News af­ter­wards that while the coun­cil was sym­pa­thetic to­wards the cou­ple, its hands were tied.

The day af­ter the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion, Ms Phelps said the ‘‘mas­sive rig­ma­role’’ was some­thing the cou­ple could have done with­out, as they at­tempted to pro­mote their win­ery in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner.

‘‘Set­ting up in a mall is lu­cra­tive for a small busi­ness like ours, with the great con­cen­tra­tion of peo­ple.’’

Photo: FAIRFAX NZ

Over a bar­rel: Da­mon Pratt and Alisha Phelps say they rely on stalls in shop­ping cen­tres to pro­mote their small win­ery, so be­ing sent pack­ing from North City Shop­ping Cen­tre in Porirua is a blow.

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