Mayor urges liquor pol­icy de­bate now

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Community in­volve­ment in an al­co­hol pol­icy for Porirua is cru­cial, the city’s mayor says, but it ‘‘won’t have any teeth’’ un­til Par­lia­ment set­tles on its Al­co­hol Re­form Bill.

The bill, in its fi­nal stages, at­tracted 9000 sub­mis­sions na­tion­wide. Its aim is to re­duce al­co­hol-re­lated harm in fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, and will de­ter­mine things such as where al­co­hol can be sold and re­stric­tions on ad­ver­tis­ing.

Un­der the new leg­is­la­tion, Porirua could have more in­put on the num­ber and lo­ca­tion of liquor out­lets, and by­laws that gov­ern drink­ing in pub­lic places, through a lo­cal al­co­hol pol­icy.

Mayor Nick Leggett said such a pol­icy can take up to a year to come into ef­fect so wants the de­bate with the community started now.

‘‘We need to be talk­ing about this and get on the front foot. There are a num­ber of mixed is­sues in Porirua and plenty to work through, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing den­sity [of liquor out­lets],’’ he said. ‘‘We can set our own pa­ram­e­ters about al­co­hol in the city but we need to hear from the pub­lic as there is go­ing to be community con­trol once the bill be­comes law.’’

He said he’s not a ‘‘wowser’’ and wants peo­ple to be able to drink sen­si­bly ‘‘but al­co­hol car­ries prob­lems in parts of this community’’.

A Min­istry of Jus­tice spokesper­son said lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should be cre­at­ing pro­vi­sional lo­cal al­co­hol poli­cies so when the bill be­comes law ‘‘they are ready to go’’.

‘‘Coun­cils know it’s com­ing, so they’re col­lect­ing data. There’s a long lead-in and it can take a while to get res­i­dents on board, so hav­ing the de­bate now makes sense.’’

Groups such as Wes­ley Community Ac­tion and the Porirua Al­co­hol and Drug Clus­ter have pre­vi­ously ad­vo­cated for an al­co­hol pol­icy in the city.

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