Views sought on coun­cil’s al­co­hol pol­icy

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS

Trad­ing hours, bot­tle shops and oneway door con­di­tions are key parts of a draft lo­cal al­co­hol pol­icy re­leased to­day for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion by Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Changes in the Sale and Sup­ply of Al­co­hol Act al­low coun­cils to de­velop their own poli­cies re­lat­ing to sale, sup­ply and con­sump­tion.

At a pre­vi­ous coun­cil workshop, stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the po­lice and dis­trict health board said en­sur­ing safety and re­duc­ing al­co­hol-re­lated harm in the com­mu­nity are high pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘An un­der­ly­ing cul­ture of pre and side-load­ing and binge drink­ing is ac­knowl­edged by many stake­hold­ers as the cause of much of the al­co­hol­re­lated harm,’’ said a staff re­port tabled at last Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing.

Op­tions in­clude shorter max­i­mum trad­ing hours than set out in the Act for on and off-li­cences; one-way door re­stric­tions (lock­out when leav­ing li­censed premises); and re­stric­tions on the lo­ca­tion of bot­tle store.

In a re­cent sur­vey of com­mu­nity views, 58 per cent of peo­ple thought al­co­hol is a prob­lem in Mata­mataPi­ako and many com­mented on the in­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­iour, as­saults and vi­o­lence caused by those who have been drink­ing. There was also feed­back that lo­cal bars con­trib­ute a sense of com­mu­nity and pro­vide a good op­por­tu­nity for so­cial­is­ing, said the re­port.

At com­mu­nity fo­cus group meet­ings the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor ex­pressed con­cern that it will be dis­ad­van­taged by more re­stric­tive trad­ing hours and en­forced one-way door re­stric­tions.

How­ever, said the coun­cil staff re­port, the po­lice, med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health and li­cens­ing in­spec­tors are firm that the LAP needs to be ‘‘clear and con­sis­tent, in par­tic­u­lar by pro­vid­ing a strong sig­nal about the li­cens­ing en­vi­ron­ment sought for the dis­trict’’.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for a bot­tle shop in Te Aroha, which at­tracted a pe­ti­tion bear­ing 1500 sig­na­tures in op­po­si­tion, was re­cently granted – us­ing cur­rent leg­is­la­tion – by the Na­tional Al­co­hol Reg­u­la­tory & Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity.

A sim­i­lar ap­proach, re­lat­ing to the Mo­bil Ser­vice Sta­tion site in Mor­rinsville, is also sched­uled to go to hear­ing on a date yet to be set by the au­thor­ity.

The LAP is open to pub­lic com­ment un­til Novem­ber 18, with hear­ings on De­cem­ber 5.

It could be im­ple­mented by the end of June, 2014 at the ear­li­est.

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