Dairy fights for liquor li­cence

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Pukerua Bay will be­come a dry sub­urb if Porirua po­lice suc­cess­fully block the liquor li­cence re­newal of the lo­cal diary.

Pukerua Bay Store has had a li­cence to sell beer and wine for 12 years, but when its li­cence came up for re­newal in Fe­bru­ary 2011, po­lice op­posed it in ac­cor­dance with the Al­co­hol Re­form Bill.

Await­ing its third read­ing and ex­pected to be­come law later this year, the bill would re­strict the sale of al­co­hol to gro­cery stores, de­fined as shops that mainly sell house­hold food­stuffs.

Dairies have been strug­gling to prove they are gro­cery stores un­der the leg­is­la­tion.

Pukerua Bay Store is fight­ing for its li­cence in the courts, cost­ing it a whole year’s prof­its in lawyers’ fees – more than $10,000 – says owner He­mant Pa­tel.

He ar­gues that the store is a spe­cial case due to its iso­la­tion, and to re­voke its li­cence would in­con­ve­nience Pukerua Bay res­i­dents.

‘‘It’s eight min­utes to drive to Mana, prob­a­bly five min­utes spent in­side the shop, then eight min­utes back, which makes it a 30-minute round trip. Not many peo­ple have 30 min­utes to spend get­ting a bot­tle of wine,’’ he says. ‘‘I just think it’s a bit ridicu­lous. ‘‘They should look at it specif­i­cally, look at the ge­og­ra­phy.

‘‘It doesn’t make sense to take it away from a ru­ral com­mu­nity.’’

The store has never failed an un­der­age pur­chas­ing test, and it’s not an is­sue that arises, Mr Pa­tel says. ‘‘It’s such a tight-knit com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­body knows each other. You know how old all the kids are be­cause you’ve grown up with them.’’

Porirua po­lice are be­ing overzeal­ous in their ap­proach to liquor, an at­ti­tude which has al­ready re­moved Pau­ata­hanui’s only liquor li­cence, says north­ern ward city coun­cil­lor Euon Mur­rell.

‘‘For God’s sake, it’s not a liquor store, it’s a con­ve­nience store in a small com­mu­nity. The law is an arse in that it al­lows the Pau­ata­hanui sit­u­a­tion,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m an­noyed be­cause here we have got a com­mu­nity that is a rea­son­ably re­mote com­mu­nity that haven’t got a huge amount of ameni­ties, and they’re in dan­ger of los­ing an­other one.’’

Pukerua Bay Store will not sur­vive if it loses its li­cence, Mr Mur­rell says.

‘‘Ap­par­ently it’s not a gro­cery store. A gro­cery store would not sur­vive in Pukerua Bay.

‘‘It’s a small com­mu­nity. Words fail me re­ally. For a small com­mu­nity store it’s hard enough to sur­vive and for them to have this law, it just dumb­founds me.’’

Porirua po­lice liquor li­cens­ing of­fi­cer se­nior sergeant Steve Sar­gent was un­avail­able for com­ment last week. Kapiti- Mana po­lice area com­man­der in­spec­tor John Price says there are an abun­dance of li­censed liquor out­lets in Porirua and the mer­its of each one needed to be ques­tioned.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously we look at com­mu­nity needs,’’ Mr Price says. ‘‘My per­spec­tive is al­co­hol is a key driver of crime and we have to be as­sured and re­as­sured that any li­censee is re­spon­si­ble.’’

Prob­lems with al­co­hol af­fect all sub­urbs in Porirua, Mr Price says. ‘‘Un­for­tu­nately al­co­hol goes across all classes.

‘‘ We see that al­co­hol con­trib­utes to fam­ily vi­o­lence and road trauma across the so­cial spec­trum.’’

Euo’n North­ern ward city coun­cil­lor

Mur­rell

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