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Feedback sought on liquor bylaw extension

NEWS RELEASE
27 March 2008

Feedback sought on liquor bylaw extension

Wellington City Council today agreed to consult the public on a proposal to extend its liquor control bylaw.

The bylaw control currently runs from 5pm each Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 8am each following day in Wellington’s central city, Oriental Bay and the Mt Victoria lookout. A range of options are presented as part of the upcoming consultation and the recommended option provides a 24-hour a day control and an extension of the control area to Aro Valley.

A recent report to the Council on Courtenay Place recommended a range of initiatives to improve safety, including this 24/7 liquor control which covers a wider area. Retailers, bar owners, inner city apartment-dwellers and visitors also have concerns about antisocial and alcohol-related behaviour in public places.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast told the Council she was proud of Wellington’s reputation as a safe city and as a fantastic place to live but more was needed to protect that reputation and Wellington’s unique brand.

“Wellington is a World Health Organisation (WHO) safe community and we need to do all we can to protect that. A 24/7 liquor ban in the CBD is just one way we can help deter the antisocial behaviour that leads to the violence and aggression often caused by excessive alcohol consumption,” she says.

The Council’s Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ngaire Best, says public input is important. “A 24/7 control is just one of a range of safety-related tools available to us in the central city. It’s an important part, though, so we want the public to tell us if they think it’s a good idea.”

Wellington’s inner city is increasingly busy and anecdotal evidence indicates that people are drinking liquor in public places outside the existing restriction, and that can lead to disorder.

The Police would continue to enforce the amended bylaw using the same principles they currently do for the existing bylaw. People breaching the amended bylaw will be given opportunity to comply by disposing of the alcohol. The majority of people are warned for this offence.

The Liquor Control Bylaw does not apply to licensed premises or their outdoor areas, or to people carrying unopened containers directly to or from licensed premises or private residences within the liquor control area. This would remain unchanged under an extended bylaw.

A comprehensive evaluation of the extended bylaw will be undertaken and reported back to the Council in late 2009.

Information including the proposed bylaw and submission forms will be available online, from the Council offices at 101 Wakefield Street, or from Wellington libraries from Thursday 3 April. Submissions close at 4pm on Thursday 8 May 2008.

ENDS

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