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Rush for alcohol licenses before policy change

Rush for alcohol licenses before policy change

Waipiro Harm Action Group

While Auckland is on the cusp of changes to the way alcohol is sold and supplied in the region, it seems liquor store owners are rushing to get their applications processed before the change which may see restrictions on things such as close proximity to schools.

One such example is the license granted to Thirsty Liquor to open a bottle store directly across the road from Southern Cross Campus in Mangere. Under proposed changes by the Auckland Council, the close proximity to the school would likely be a factor in the license being declined.

Torranice Campel who attended Southern Cross Campus and lives nearby is livid about the store going ahead. “I am disgusted that they have been allowed to put this liquor outlet right next to my old school. We already have issues with drunken behavior in the neighbourhood. Imagine what more access to liquor will do?”

Public health worker Antony Thompson from Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua states “Local community members have said they feel set up to fail. They now feel stuck with a ticking time bomb. We know alcohol availability is associated with violence, anti-social behaviour, injuries and binge drinking. These things are clearly not a good combination with school kids. This is something that the proposed changes are trying to reduce”.

Hone Fowler, from the Mangere East Community Learning Centre is so appalled he is helping to organise a rally for this coming Saturday to allow the community to share their concerns. “We feel that our community voice has largely been left out of the discussion in the approval of this liquor license and this is an opportunity to express our voice” says Mr Fowler.

The situation for the Mangere community highlights to the rest of Auckland the importance of local communities ensuring their voices are heard in the development of alcohol policy. Mr Thompson explains “The most effective alcohol policy will be one that actively protects the community including young people and children and that is through restricted trading hours and a reduction in the number and density of premises especially in close proximity to sensitive sites like schools. That is why it is important that the community get out and have a say on these proposed changes” says Mr Thompson.

Aucklanders have one month to have a say on the Auckland Council’s Draft Local Alcohol Policy with submissions due by the 16th July. In the meantime, the Mangere community will not let this go lightly.


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