Liquor out­let ap­pli­ca­tion pre­cedes pol­icy

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STEWART ni­cola.stewart@wrcn.co.nz

Mata­mata could soon have a fifth liquor store but Mayor Jan Barnes said it would likely be the last to open its doors in Mata­mata Pi­ako.

Auck­land- based com­pany Sap­phire Dreams ap­plied to open an off-li­cence at 6 Arawa St in June last year.

A to­tal of eight ob­jec­tions were made to the Dis­trict Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee and the ap­pli­ca­tion was re­ferred to the Al­co­hol Reg­u­la­tory and Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity.

The case for the pro­posed store is to be heard be­fore the au­thor­ity in the Hamil­ton High Court on Fe­bru­ary 18.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was made un­der the for­mer Sale of Liquor Act, mean­ing the de­ci­sion sits squarely with the au­thor­ity.

But from this year, new leg­is­la­tion means the Mata­mataPi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil will have more power to is­sue or deny of­fli­cences.

‘‘ We can’t do any­thing about this par­tic­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tion,’’ Mrs Barnes said. ‘‘It will go through the process and the judge will have all of the in­for­ma­tion to make a de­ci­sion.

‘‘If this one does go through, it will prob­a­bly be the last [new liquor store] in our dis­trict.’’

The coun­cil’s draft Lo­cal Al­co­hol Pol­icy says the num­ber of off- li­cences is­sued would be re­stricted to the cur­rent level.

There are presently four liquor stores in Mata­mata, as well as two li­censed su­per­mar­kets.

Mata­mata’s Kevin Buck­ley was strongly op­posed to the open­ing of another liquor store and hoped the au­thor­ity would deny the ap­pli­ca­tion.

‘‘Why do we need seven out­lets for 12,000 peo­ple?’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just too many.

‘‘ The owner doesn’t live in Mata­mata. It’s not go­ing to be his car that’s done over, his house that’s robbed.

‘‘He’s not go­ing to be deal­ing with the af­ter- ef­fects of the al­co­hol.’’

Mr Buck­ley wanted to en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to speak out more against th­ese types of ap­pli­ca­tions.

‘‘No-one seems to be do­ing any­thing about it,’’ he said.

He was con­cerned the added com­pe­ti­tion would mean a ‘‘price war’’ be­tween out­lets and fur­ther price cuts on ‘‘ al­ready cheap’’ liquor.

It was also an is­sue that many Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dents walked down Arawa St af­ter school each day, he said.

An ap­pli­ca­tion has never been turned down in Mata­mata Pi­ako un­der the for­mer act, but Sap­phire Dreams did have a pro­posal for an off- li­cence in Waihi over­turned.

The com­pany’s ap­pli­ca­tion to open a liquor store in Te Aroha last year was met with strong op­po­si­tion but was ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful.

The coun­cil ex­pects to no­tify their pro­vi­sional Lo­cal Al­co­hol Pol­icy by early March.

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