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Aucklanders asked for their views on alcohol bans

Aucklanders asked for their views on alcohol bans

At the request of the police, community boards and public, Auckland City is asking Aucklanders if they would like the central city alcohol ban extended and additional alcohol bans introduced in some suburban areas.

The proposal includes increasing the geographical area of the current central city alcohol ban to take in Albert Park, Nelson Street, Symonds Street and the area around the Strand and Beach Road.

The time frame will be extended to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The current central city alcohol ban is from 9pm to 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Alcohol bans are also proposed for the shopping and business areas of Newmarket, Panmure, Avondale, Onehunga, Glen Innes, Blockhouse Bay, Otahuhu, Parnell and Mission Bay from 10pm to 6am, Thursday night to Sunday morning.

The chairperson of Auckland City’s Law and Order Committee, Councillor Noelene Raffills, says the central city ban has been instrumental in reducing alcohol-related disorder and increasing public perceptions of safety.

“Since the introduction of this ban in September 2002, the council has received numerous requests for alcohol bans in other parts of the city from members of the public, community boards, Mainstreet organisations and the police.

“The 28 requested ban areas have been prioritised according to the geographical scale and frequency of the problem, level of impact on the community and the type and cause of offending. Now we are asking Aucklanders for their views on the ten priority areas,” she says.

The public consultation periods takes place from 28 June to 30 July 2004, with oral hearings being heard in early August.

Mrs Raffills says it is crucial that the public voice their opinions on this issue. Submission forms will be available on the council’s website, in libraries and on the ground floor of the Civic Building.

“No alcohol bans will be introduced until the consultation process is complete. In some cases, alternative approaches such as increased lighting, fences, signs, closed circuit television cameras, security patrols and alcohol accords maybe more appropriate than alcohol bans,” she says.

If introduced, the bans will prohibit people from bringing, carrying or drinking alcohol in public places within a ban area. This includes the possession or drinking of alcohol in vehicles within ban areas.

Alcohol bans do not cover private property or licensed premises, including any outdoor pavement seating attached to licensed premises.

Alcohol may also be carried through ban areas to and from private homes and licensed premises as long as the alcohol is promptly taken from the ban areas. Off licenses are not affected either – as long as the alcohol purchased is removed quickly from the ban area.

In most cases people would be given the opportunity by the police to leave the area or tip their alcohol out before they or their car are searched.

The police can confiscate alcohol as evidence. The legislation allows the courts to issue a fine of up to $20,000, if a conviction is made.

One-off exceptions would be available on request for special events being held within alcohol ban areas. Robust monitoring will be developed to ensure the effectiveness of all bans.

Mrs Raffills says the proposed bans are a mechanism for encouraging responsible behaviour and are part of the council’s wider agenda to make the city a safer, healthier and more enjoyable place.

Acting District Commander, Detective Superintendent, Gavin Jones says, “police view alcohol bans as discretionary policing tools that can be used to help control disorderly behaviour. The ban areas proposed by us have been nominated on the basis of evidence of offending collected by us over the years."

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