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Council to look at alcohol issues

9 July, 2008

Council to look at alcohol issues

The Council is in the initial stages of looking at the regulatory tools that can control alcohol at a local level. The focus of the work is on reviewing the Council's two liquor control bylaws and its alcohol policy. The current phase is primarily to gather information and to scope future work.

A joint seminar was held on Monday for Community Board members and Councillors to get together to talk about alcohol issues in our community. This follows the first meeting of the Alcohol Policy and Liquor Control Bylaw Sub Committee last week.

Areas of concern relating to alcohol in public places and liquor licensing that were discussed at the meetings included: the number, location, opening hours and operation of licensed premises; issues arising from alcohol consumption, such as disorderly behaviour, violence, litter and vandalism; and the culture around alcohol consumption in New Zealand generally.

Councillors and Community Board members also discussed concerns and frustrations at the limitations of the current Sale of Liquor Act framework, particularly its lack of responsiveness to community concerns.

Government changes to the 1989 Act are due out over the next few months, and Councillors and Community Board members look forward to seeing what these changes might involve, and how this will impact on what the Council can do at a local level.

Alcohol-related issues on our community are complex, and looking at how we can most effectively use the available regulatory tools (such as those provided by the Sale of Liquor Act and the Local Government Act) will take time, evidence and engagement with our communities.

Further work by staff will be undertaken over the next few months on these and related matters. This may lead to a revised bylaw to control alcohol in public places, and a revised policy to cover liquor licensing matters. Drafts of these documents will be put before Council, and, if adopted, will then go out for wider public consultation.

Background

Liquor control bylaws restrict the consumption and possession of alcohol in specific public places, while the alcohol policy relates to liquor licensing and to the Council's functions as a District Licensing Agency. The bylaws are made under the Local Government Act, and the policy links to the Sale of Liquor Act.

The current Christchurch City Council bylaw contains restrictions for the Central City, Sydenham south, Spencer Park and the Esplanade in Sumner, while the bylaw of the former Banks Peninsula District Council contains restrictions in some parts of Akaroa. The restrictions range from 24hr, 7 day restrictions, to restrictions that only apply on New Year's eve.

The current bylaws can be found at: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/bylaws/ (the BPDC bylaw to control liquor in public places is part 2 of the BPDC Public Places and Signs Bylaw 2004).

The current alcohol policy can be found at: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Policy/AlcoholPolicy.asp

ENDS

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