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Earlier closing proposed for bars and off-licences

Earlier closing proposed for bars and off-licences

Gisborne bars could be empty by 2am on a Friday and Saturday night if Gisborne District Council’s draft Local Alcohol Policy is adopted.

The policy is about limiting harm from alcohol in this district by having safe and healthy alcohol licensing criteria. Gisborne has higher than average rates of alcohol-related injury and crime, says community planning and development group manager Nedine Thatcher-Swann.

“Research into alcohol issues in the Gisborne district showed that alcohol is a significant factor in at least half the deaths in people under 24 years old and that 30 percent of weekend visits to A&E are alcohol related. Accessibility to alcohol in Gisborne is high when compared to national data.”

The Gisborne District Licensing Committee will use the Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) as a guide when making decisions about where, when, how and who should be licensed to sell or serve alcohol. The draft policy aims to ensure decisions made by the committee balance business and social interests.

“One of the key changes proposed is to close all bars at 2am; currently bars close at 3am. From 1am there would be a one-way door policy in place meaning anyone leaving the bar would not be allowed back in.”

“Changes are also proposed for off-licences. Off-licences, like supermarkets, bottle stores and clubs, would be able to sell alcohol to take away between 10am and 9pm. Current hours are between 7am and 11pm. The number of off-licences would be capped at current levels. There will be sensitive locations, for example by schools, where only new cafes and restaurants can be licensed to sell alcohol – no bars.”

“It is proposed that licensed clubs would be able to sell alcohol between 10am and 11pm Sunday to Thursday and between 10am and 12pm on Friday and Saturday. Current hours are 8am till 4am.”

“It is important that organisations that are licensed to serve or sell alcohol are prepared to look after their customers responsibly. It is proposed that everyone applying for a license will present an Alcohol Management Plan.”
“Council is now asking for feedback on the changes proposed so communities in the Gisborne district can help decide what kind of alcohol outlets we want and how accessible we want them to be.”

The Local Alcohol Policy was drafted after a series of workshops and community meetings last year. Many of those impacted by, or working with those impacted by, the use of alcohol in the district, attended the workshops. The policy aims to balance the positive economic benefits of the sale and supply of alcohol as part of major events and the hospitality industry, while limiting harm from alcohol.

The draft Local Alcohol Policy and submission form is on Council’s website or pick up a copy at the HB Williams Memorial Library, Customer Service in Fitzherbert Street or Te Puia Springs.

You can also text your feedback along with your full name and street address to 027 530 3323.


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