Liquor licensing issues on the agenda - 28/05/2012
Wanganui District Council’s Community and Environment Committee will be discussing liquor licensing issues and the Alcohol Reform Bill at their meeting this week.
A report is being presented by Doug Bonner, the District Licensing Agency Inspector, outlining the recent trends in liquor licensing applications including the increasing number of objections received for the granting of new licences for off-licence premises.
Figures show that the numbers of both on-licences and off-licences granted over the past five years has not increased significantly and objections appear to be focused on stand-alone off-licence premises rather than grocery/supermarket stores which apply to sell alcohol.
Controlled Purchase Operations have been successful with only two non-compliant premises in the most recent operation, both of which were grocery/supermarket premises.
Mr Bonner’s report also discusses the Alcohol Reform Bill which proposes changes affecting the licensing system, legal alcohol purchase age, supply of alcohol to under 18’s by parents or guardians, promotion of alcohol, consumption of alcohol in public places, controls on alcoholic products and the way alcohol related offences are enforced.
The Bill has been open to consultation and the Wanganui District Council made a submission in February 2012. The Bill is due back before Parliament in the next few months for debate before being re-drafted for the third and final reading.
The Bill includes proposals for Local Alcohol Policies which would give communities more input into local alcohol licensing decisions, something particularly welcome by Community and Environment Committee Chair, Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan.
“I welcome the chance to discuss Mr Bonner’s report at our meeting” says Cr Baker-Hogan.
“There has been a perceived increase in liquor licensing applications in Wanganui and some off-licence applications have attracted public interest and some objections.
“There is also concern about alcohol related harm in our communities and the affect that granting new liquor licences will have on this. The introduction of Local Alcohol
Policies would enable community concerns to be taken into account when making licensing decisions, something which does not happen under the current system.
“Safer Whanganui is currently developing an alcohol strategy with input from key organisations and agencies, including the District Licensing Agency, the Police and the District Health Board.
“I am keen that we also speak with our local MPs about the forthcoming Alcohol Reform Bill debate to ensure that our concerns regarding alcohol related harm in our community, and ways to mitigate it, are heard at the highest level.”
The Community and Environment Committee meeting is at 2.00pm in the Council Chamber on Thursday, May 31. The meeting is open to the public.