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Aucklanders urged to have their say on alcohol

Aucklanders urged to have their say on alcohol

Aucklanders will soon have an opportunity to determine where and when alcohol can be sold across the wider city. The City’s draft Local Alcohol Policy will be considered tomorrow (13 May) by the Auckland Council’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee who will decide whether to put it out for public consultation and whether any further changes to the draft are required. Community consultation is expected to start in mid June.

A Local Alcohol Policy can include measures to control the number and location of licensed premises, what hours they can be operate and what conditions are placed on sale of alcohol if they are granted a license. Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams says Local Alcohol Policies are aimed at reducing the accessibility and availability of alcohol in order to reduce harm, and improve community input into licensing decision-making.

“This is a key element of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 – which came fully into force at the end of last year.”

She says problems like the oversupply of alcohol in neighbourhoods, licensed premises popping up next to schools and kindergartens, or late night trading hours that result in violence and crime are some of the concerns communities have raised over the years.

“Finally communities can have some tools to do something about these concerns. It’s really important they have their say on the draft policy.”

Other communities around the country have already developed their Local Alcohol Policies, and the powerful alcohol industry and supermarket interests have been active in influencing these processes. If Aucklanders want their policy to reflect their needs they need to get involved in the process and make sure their voices are heard, Ms Williams says.

Health agencies in Auckland are planning a range of initiatives to assist the community in engaging in the Local Alcohol Policy consultation process. One of these initiatives is a Community Workshop on Tuesday 20 May provided by Alcohol Healthwatch. This free workshop will be held at the Waipuna Suites, Highbrook between 9.30am – 2.30pm. It will provide the first of a number of opportunities for the community to learn what’s in Auckland’s draft Local Alcohol Policy and help people’s understanding and thinking around making a submission.

More details about this workshop can be found at www.ahw.org.nz or by phoning 09 520 7038.

The Health Promotion Agency is also holding a workshop about wider aspects of the new law and how communities can be involved. This workshop is being held on 27 May at the Novotel Hotel, Ellerslie.


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