Al­co­hol pol­icy goes to hear­ings

Manukau Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - EMILY FORD

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.

JARRED WIL­LIAMSON / FAIRFAX NZ

Otara-Pa­p­a­toe­toe Lo­cal Board chair­woman Lotu Fuli sup­ports the pro­posed al­co­hol pol­icy.

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