Al­co­hol is­sues at su­per­mar­ket

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - ROSE DAVIS

De­spite con­cerns from po­lice, Wai­heke Count­down can con­tinue sell­ing al­co­hol.

The Auck­land Dis­trict Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee granted a re­newal of the off li­cence for the su­per­mar­ket in Os­tend on Novem­ber 2.

Po­lice had called for the can­cel­la­tion or sus­pen­sion of the li­cence be­cause the su­per­mar­ket is al­leged to have sold al­co­hol to an in­tox­i­cated per­son this year.

The al­le­ga­tion of sell­ing al­co­hol to an in­tox­i­cated per­son is dis­puted and will be heard sep­a­rately by the Al­co­hol Reg­u­la­tory and Li­cens­ing Au­thor­ity, said Count­down lawyer Al­li­son Arthur-young.

In 2014, the old Count­down premises lost its li­cence to sell al­co­hol for five days, af­ter be­ing caught sell­ing al­co­hol to a mi­nor in a po­lice un­der­cover op­er­a­tion.

Since then, a new Count­down has opened on Bel­gium Street, but po­lice said the new su­per­mar­ket does not have ap­pro­pri­ate sys­tems, staff and train­ing to com­ply with liquor laws.

The com­pany be­hind Count­down, Gen­eral Distrib­u­tors Limited, has been sus­pended from sell­ing al­co­hol 17 times since 2014, Con­sta­ble Se­bas­tian Mik­los said.

Ac­cord­ing to the de­ci­sion, po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gary Whit­tle said ‘‘the large num­ber of se­ri­ous of­fences from one large na­tional li­censee needed to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion’’.

Wai­heke Count­down’s al­co­hol re­spon­si­bil­ity in­spec­tor Paul Radich said the su­per­mar­ket’s sys­tems were ‘‘not fool­proof’’, but he has been work­ing to im­prove them.

Arthur-young ar­gued that the breach in 2014 did not ap­ply to the new store be­cause it oc­curred at the old premises. She said the su­per­mar­ket now has ‘‘ro­bust and ap­pro­pri­ate’’ sys­tems for al­co­hol sales.

The com­pany has 172 li­cences, 4000 ap­proved al­co­hol sell­ers and 2.5 mil­lion trans­ac­tions a week - ‘‘set in that con­text, 17 breaches since 2014 were not sig­nif­i­cant,’’ she ar­gued.

The li­cens­ing com­mit­tee agreed that the 2014 breach from the old Count­down premises could not be at­trib­uted to the new store.

‘‘We do not con­sider that it is rel­e­vant that it is the same ap­pli­cant or the same gen­eral man­ager,’’ the com­mit­tee stated.

The high num­ber of sus­pen­sions at Gen­eral Distrib­u­tors’ stores are only sig­nif­i­cant when seen out of con­text of the high num­ber of trans­ac­tions, the com­mit­tee de­cided.

Wai­heke Count­down man­ager Dave Collo at the new store, where al­co­hol sales can con­tinue. DIANA WOR­THY

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