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Controlled Purchase Operation – Auckland City

Monday, 3 December 2007

Controlled Purchase Operation – Auckland City

A Controlled Purchase Operation was run in Auckland City last Friday and Saturday evenings. Minors aged 13 to 17 years were used to test licensed bottle stores and bars within the wider Auckland City including the suburbs out to Avondale / Blockhouse Bay and Panmure / Mt Wellington. The minors did not carry any identification and should not have been able to purchase any liquor.

There were a total of 109 premises visited. Of these, 23 were in East Auckland, 34 in Central and 52 in the Western areas. There was one sale in East, three in central and six in West. All except one CBD premise was from bottle stores, with one being a Superette.

The results on this occasion are more pleasing than previous occasions, as the rates of refusal are increasing. It now appears as though there are a hardened group of licensees / managers who do not care about the problems alcohol abuse causes to the community.

Premises need to ensure that staff who conduct a sale are adequately trained and are mature enough to be able to refuse service where appropriate. Larger premises should have processes in place prohibiting junior staff from conducting a sale without Duty Managers authorising the sale.

Recent changes to the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, make a Duty Manager responsible for the compliance with and enforcement of the provisions of the Act; the conditions of the licence in force in respect of the premises; and the conduct of the premises with the aim of contributing to the reduction of liquor abuse. Duty Managers, and Licensees, need to ensure that this is happening because any breach puts their livelihood, and the license of the premise, at serious risk.

At least two of the premises that were caught have been before the Liquor Licensing Authority twice before, and action is being taken to cancel these licenses, as we believe that they are unsuitable persons to hold the responsibility for dispensing liquor. The sale of liquor is a responsibility, not a right.
Safer Communities Together

Other sales appear to be because of carelessness or inattention. Is the sale of a $20.oo item really worth the risk of, at minimum, a suspension of the Licence / Managers Certificate for a period, and at worst cancellation. Some of these licensees / managers just don’t seem to care, and if that is the case, they should not be in the industry.

Information received from members of the public and concerned parents was used to target some of the premises visited, and it is some of these that were identified and are to be dealt with.

If there is any information in relation to licensed premises that are contributing to the disorder and other problems caused by the abuse of liquor, you can contact the Police Liquor Licensing Officers, who would be happy to take the information from you. Alcohol abuse contributes to 60 – 70% of all incidents attended by Police.

In relation to the issue of licenses, you can also contact the Auckland City Council Liquor Licensing Inspectors.

The above detected breaches will be presented to the Liquor Licensing Authority in due course, with a request for suspensions or cancellations of the License and Managers Certificates involved. This is part of an ongoing monitoring program of all licensed premises within the Auckland City area. Further such operations will be held.


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