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Guidelines On Alcohol Purchase Operations

July 9

ALAC To Develop Guidelines On Alcohol Purchase Operations

The intention of a controlled purchase operation in Christchurch that led to an application to suspend a number of Christchurch liquor licensees was laudable, says the Alcohol Advisory Council. However, guidelines on such operations are needed if prosecutions are to be successful.

The Council was commenting on a decision by The High Court in Christchurch to quash suspensions sought after five outlets sold liquor to underage patrons in the operation.

“We support the intention of the controlled purchase operation,” says ALAC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy. “We have got to stop underage people getting hold of alcohol so easily. We know many of them are buying it across the counter with few questions being asked. Most outlets are pretty good at checking identification but others are not so diligent.

“The High Court decision highlights the importance of getting the operation right if it is to be successful legally.”

He says that controlled purchase operations that simply warn licensees of breaches are of limited value. “Their effectiveness comes into play when prosecutions follow.”

Dr MacAvoy says ALAC plans to coordinate the development of a set of guidelines for controlled purchase operations which can be used by District Licensing Agencies and Public Health Groups.


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