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Public to have a say on proposed alcohol changes


2 July 2013

Public to have a say on proposed alcohol changes in Wellington City

Starting today (Tuesday 2 July), Wellington City Council is asking the public for their views on proposed alcohol changes in the Capital.

The Council is consulting on its draft Local Alcohol Policy, which would give communities greater control over when, where and how alcohol is sold, and a draft Alcohol Management Strategy to deal with the wider issues relating to alcohol use in the city.

Under the Government’s Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, councils can develop local alcohol policies that focus on the availability of alcohol. The Council’s draft strategy takes a wider view – how Wellington can have a dynamic, safe central city with vibrant suburban centres, and how the community as a whole can help to reduce harm.

Proposed changes under the policy include establishing an entertainment precinct in the inner city (Courtenay Place through to Cuba Street), different trading hours for on-licence premises (bars, clubs and restaurants) in different parts of the city, and restrictions on the hours of sale from off-licences such as supermarkets and bottle stores.

Councillor Stephanie Cook, the Council’s Social Portfolio Leader, says alcohol has an important role in the life of our city but we need to balance the vitality with safety and reducing alcohol-related harm.

“Alcohol is no ordinary commodity and it’s important that we ask Wellingtonians to have a say in how we can reduce the harm caused by it. Under our draft policy, Wellington would have the most liberal opening hours in New Zealand for on-licence premises.”

The Council is proposing maximum trading hours for inner city bars. These would be 7am–5am licences for ‘best practice operators’ in the entertainment precinct and 7am–3am licences for best practice operators in the rest of the CBD.

For all other bars, the standard hours of trade would be 7am–2am in the CBD and 7am–3am in the entertainment precinct. Most premises outside the entertainment precinct area already have to close by 3am. Suburban bars would operate 7am–12 midnight.

Also proposed is a curb on trading hours for off-licences throughout Wellington City, including supermarkets, bottle stores and dairies, which could only sell alcohol from 7am–9pm.

Cr Cook says the Council’s role is to provide leadership while also supporting good business in the hospitality sector.

“These proposals are backed up by sound research, with the support of Police, community leaders and medical experts. Through this process of public consultation we’re committed to maintaining Wellington as a vibrant, safe and hospitable city.”

Wellingtonians have until 5pm, Friday 2 August to have their say.

A summary document, and the draft policy and strategy, are available on www.Wellington.govt.nz

Copies can be picked up from libraries, and our service centre at 101 Wakefield Street, otherwise phone 499 4444.

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