Alcohol policy goes to hearings
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board is calling for better alcohol regulation across the region.
Board chairwoman Lotu Fuli is backing the Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) which is progressing through public hearings at Auckland District Court.
If it is approved the LAP will help minimise alcohol-related harm by influencing where licences are allowed to be established, and where and when stores can sell alcohol.
Fuli says the easy access to alcohol in her local board area is a huge problem and affects people who are most vulnerable.
‘‘From our point of view we’re making sure it doesn’t cause any more harm,’’ Fuli says.
‘‘Our community and groups aren’t as well equipped to make objections as more affluent communities.
‘‘We’ve made it really clear to our lawyers that we want them to strongly defend all elements in the proposed LAP.’’
The provisional LAP was adopted in May 2015 and includes regional policies and special rules for the city centre.
Key policies in the provisional LAP are changes to on and offlicence hours, restrictions on new licence locations, and a report for renewing high-risk licences in the priority overlay.
The priority overlay covers suburbs with higher levels of alcohol-related harm. Some suburbs in the priority overlay include Clendon, Hunters Corner, Mangere, Manukau, Manurewa, Otahuhu Otara, Papakura, Papatoetoe, Takanini and Wiri.
With alcohol stores operating near schools in the area, Fuli welcomes regulation which will require stores to have better identification checks and different opening hours.
In the past, she says it’s been frustrating when decisions were made about alcohol licences by people in other parts of Auckland.
‘‘We have people who don’t live in our area making decisions about selling alcohol around our kids.
‘‘They would never approve of having an alcohol store open up next to Diocesan School for Girls but it’s OK to have one across the road from Papatoetoe Intermediate School.’’
The LAP hearing dates began in February and are scheduled to run until March 10 if needed.
Fuli says it’ll then be a long process before it comes into action if it is approved.
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairwoman Lotu Fuli supports the proposed alcohol policy.