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Alcohol and fire bans begin this week

Our new alcohol control bylaw takes effect from today, 18 December, so check out where and when it's okay to have alcohol in a public place. We've got a mix of year-round 24/7 town centre bans and Christmas/New Year and long weekend bans on some beaches and seaside reserves.

The Christmas and New Year ban (24/7) runs from 23 December until 6 January on beaches and seaside reserves from Whangapoua to Whangamata and in all of Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamata townships, in addition to the existing 24/7 town centre bans.

What are the rules?
You can’t consume, carry or possess alcohol in a ban area, or in a vehicle in the ban area. Examples of breaching the Bylaw could be:

• Consuming alcohol in a public place, including inside a vehicle within the ban area.
• Carrying or possessing open bottles of alcohol in a public place even if you are just passing through the ban area.

This Bylaw is enforced by the New Zealand Police who can issue fines of $250 for breaching the bylaw. If convicted of an offence against this Bylaw you can receive a fine of up to $20,000.

Exemptions to the rules
What you can do within an alcohol ban area:
• You can carry or transport unopened alcohol from a licensed premise, like a bottle store or supermarket, to your house, friend’s house or somewhere outside of the alcohol ban area as long as it is removed promptly from the ban area.
• You can carry or transport unopened alcohol to a licensed premise within an alcohol ban area. For example, this might be taking a bottle of wine to a BYO restaurant. Remember you can’t leave the premise with an open alcohol container within the ban area.
• You can carry or transport unopened alcohol from your house through a banned area to a friend’s house. So if you want to walk down the road for a BBQ then you are able to take a bottle of wine or some beers with you.
What does promptly mean?
The Police have discretion around enforcing the Bylaw exemptions, but as a rule of thumb if you remove alcohol from the ban area within an hour from the time you buy it then this is prompt. If you are bringing alcohol into the ban area to go to a licensed premise or a friend’s place, then prompt travel through the ban area would be going directly to your destination.

Key things to remember, it must be unopened not just closed, and don’t loiter in public places in ban areas with alcohol - just take it promptly to your destination.

There are also other exemptions to the ban areas:

• You can apply in writing for an exemption to the rule, for details of how to do this read the full bylaw on our website here.
• If you have a certified self-contained vehicle you can carry, possess or consume alcohol within a ban area as long as:

o Alcohol is only consumed within the vehicle, and
o It is parked in a designated freedom camping area (see our Freedom Camping Bylaw), and
o The number of people inside the vehicle does not exceed the maximum number of allowed on the vehicle’s self-containment certificate.

Check out the rules for your area on our interactive map here. For more information please visit our website www.tcdc.govt.nz/alcoholcontrolbylaw.

Year-round town centre bans (24/7):
• Matarangi
• Whitianga and Ferry Landing
• Cooks Beach
• Hahei
• Tairua
• Whangamata
• Coromandel Town
• Thames

Areas with holiday bans:
• Whangapoua – beaches and seaside reserves
• Matarangi – beaches and seaside reserves
• Rings Beach – beaches and seaside reserves
• Kuaotunu West – beaches and seaside reserves
• Kuaotunu – beaches and seaside reserves
• Otama – beaches and seaside reserves
• Opito Bay – beaches and seaside reserves
• Wharekaho – beaches and seaside reserves
• Ohuka (Brophy’s) Beach – beaches and seaside reserves
• Whitianga – beaches and seaside reserves
• Ferry Landing – beaches and seaside reserves
• Cooks Beach – beaches and seaside reserves
• Hahei – beaches and seaside reserves
• Hot Water Beach – beaches and seaside reserves
• Tairua – entire township
• Pauanui – entire township
• Opoutere – beaches and seaside reserves
• Onemana – beaches and seaside reserves
• Whangamata – entire township

Prohibited Fire Season

The Coromandel prohibited fire season begins this Thursday, 20 December, which means open fires in public places, beaches, public conservation land (DOC) and on private property are not permitted.

Lighting a fire would be extremely risky so there is a ban on lighting any fires in open air over the summer. Fires are more likely to burn out of control over the hot, dry summer months and result in damage to vegetation or property, or loss of life.

Our Council no longer issues fire permits, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) does. Any fire permits issued during a restricted fire season are suspended from 20 December. During prohibited fire seasons, Fire and Emergency New Zealand will only grant permits that are necessary to prevent, reduce, or overcome any hazard to life or because of any other serious emergency. Permits may also be granted if the weather or other conditions temporarily reduce the fire risk, making it safe to light a fire.

It is an offence to knowingly or recklessly light, or allow another person to light, a fire in open air without a fire permit, or not in accordance with the conditions of a fire permit, during a prohibited fire season.

See www.checkitsalright.nz or call 0800 658 628 for more information.

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