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Council makes a submission to control alcohol

14 August 2008

Manukau City Council makes a submission to control alcohol in the city

Manukau City Council is asking for changes that will give it more powers to control alcohol in the city. These changes are outlined in the council’s submission to MP George Hawkins’ Sale of Liquor and Objections Bill.

Manukau City Council Safe City Portfolio Leader Cr Dick Quax says liquor licensing officers need more power to decide on location and if a new shop is necessary.

“Unfortunately our liquor licensing officers currently have one hand tied behind their back when dealing with applications to set up liquor outlets,” says Cr Quax.

Mr Hawkins’ Bill proposes that all new liquor licence applications submit a social impact assessment and provides an opportunity for community groups, businesses and people residing in the area to object.

The submission asks for councils to be able to adopt a Local Alcohol Policy that will enable the council, at its own discretion, to undertake a city-wide social impact assessment.

Cr Quax says the council supports Mr Hawkins’ Bill in principle but opposes the mandatory requirement for an evaluation of social impact for every application.

“It’s not effective, the cost to the applicant would be too time consuming and costly. Of greater concern is that evaluations will be of a poor quality and, over time, just become boxes that need to be ticked.

“It also puts the onus on the council to determine the social impacts on a case by case basis with the applicant and public at extreme positions.

“Instead the council wants to do a city-wide social impact assessment, developing city-wide rules on location and density. This approach is more black and white, clearly understood by applicants and public as well as simple to administer by the council.”

A local alcohol plan will use criteria to assess an application or renewal which includes considering location and density, responsible business practice and event management and proximity to community premises like schools.

Meanwhile the University of Waikato was selected out of eight research providers contesting to work with the council and the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) on a research project on the impacts of different liquor outlets in the city. The research will inform any proposed changes to the council’s liquor licensing policy contained in the alcohol strategy.

ENDS

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