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High Court liquor decision could affect retailers

High Court liquor decision could affect small retailers nationwide

The Association of Community Retailers says this week’s High Court decision declining the appeal of the Victoria Street Night ‘N’ Day against a Christchurch liquor licensing authority decision not to renew the shops liquor licence could have ramifications for small, family-owned diaries and convenience stores, especially those in rural areas.

ACR alcohol spokesperson, Dipal Desai, says the High Court decision is likely to come as a blow to small retailers. “Family-owned retailers around the country are likely to be adversely affected by this decision,” she says.

“Retailers need consistency and other licensing agencies around New Zealand have been generally implementing the Sale of Liquor Act in that manner, with the exception of the Canterbury region.”

“The problem now is that the High Court decision could result in liquor licensing authorities around the country refusing to renew licences for small retailers, dairies and convenience stores.”

“Whereas in the past there have been no problems with licence renewals, that may no longer be the case. We are very concerned about how this might affect retailers who are serving their communities in small townships and rural areas,” Ms Desai said.

“It is important that licensing officers’ individual views on alcohol are taken out of the equation when approving or renewing licences. For retailers to run their businesses there needs to be consistency across the board,” she said.

The ACR acknowledges that the Government is currently looking at alcohol legislation however it needs to understand that small, community retailers don’t sell huge amounts of beer and wine. Rather it is about offering the convenience so consumers can buy a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer.

“People don’t go to a convenience store to buy a lot of alcohol – they’ll go to a bottle store for that. Small retailers offer convenience to consumers and the High Court could be a blow to small retailers around New Zealand who offer beer and wine to their customers,” Ms Desai said.

“We understand the law surrounding sale of liquor licences only to grocery stores, but small convenience shops, some in rural areas, are at a disadvantage,” she says. “The retailing environment has changed hugely in the last 20 years and consumers buying habits have evolved where smaller, convenience stores play a greater role in consuming buying,” she said.

ENDS

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