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Hawkins raises the bar for liquor sellers

Hon George Hawkins
MP for Manurewa

7 September 2006

Hawkins raises the bar for liquor sellers

Local people should have more say about the set up and operation of liquor retail outlets.

That's according to Manurewa MP George Hawkins, who says communities need more power to oppose the establishment and operation of bottle shops, pubs and bars.

The MP is introducing a Private Members Bill, the Sale of Liquor (Objections to Applications) Amendment Bill to ensure individuals and community organisations such as schools, early childhood education and care centres, and churches have a clear right to object to the placement and location of liquor outlets

“The Sale of Liquor Act 1989 doesn't offer enough help to ordinary members of the community, so my Bill seeks to empower them to lodge objections to on- and off-licence applications.

“Local people's needs and concerns should be reflected in their local council district plans, but with strong leadership often lacking, pubs, bars and bottle shops have sprouted up in some of the most inappropriate places.

"It's common sense to make sure people have the right to have a real say in the future of their community – this way, people will have more certainty, feel safer, and care more. Not only that, but people drinking too much has miserable social and economic consequences on the community,” George Hawkins said.

Mr Hawkins' proposed law would help organisations lodge objections to the licence and operation of certain liquor retail outlets. It would also introduce new grounds for opposing a licence application.

He said the Bill would not affect club licences for organisations such as cosmopolitan clubs and RSAs.


Sale of Liquor (Objections to Applications) Amendment Bill
Background Information

Key features of the Sale of Liquor (Objections to Applications) Amendment Bill include –
1. any person may object to an application for an on-licence or an off-licence. However, the objector must be able to provide evidence of adverse impact on the objector if the application were to be granted;
2. an applicant for an on-licence or an off-licence must carry out an evaluation of the social and economic impacts on the community if the licence were to be granted. The evaluation is subject to the same public notice requirements as the application;
3. where an application for an on-licence or an off-licence is opposed, the Bill provides for the Licensing Authority to take additional matters into account; and
4. the time period within which objections may be lodged is altered from 10 working days to 20 working days after the first publication of the notice of application.


FAQ: Sale of Liquor (Objections to Applications) Amendment Bill
What is the Bills' purpose?
The Bill amends the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 by extending the criteria for who can lodge an objection to an on-licence and off-licence application and the grounds for which an objection can be lodged. This amendment will give local people real say over the establishment and operation of liquor retail outlets in their community.

How does the bill affect on-licence and off-licence applicants?
Applicants are required to carry out an evaluation of the social and economic impacts on the community if the licence were to be granted. The evaluation is subject to the same public notice requirements as the application. The time period within which objections may be lodged is altered from 10 working days to 20 working days after the first publication of the notice of application.

Why should applicants have to evaluate the social and economic impacts on the community for the licence to be granted?
It is important to realise that certain activities such as the sale and purchase of alcohol can have significant social and economic consequences on the purchaser of alcohol, his or her family or whanau, and the wider community. These consequences should be taken into account when determining whether or not the licence application should be granted.

Does the Bill allow anyone to lodge an objection to an on-licence or an off-licence application?

Any person can object to an application. However, the objector must be able to provide evidence of adverse impact on the objector if the application were to be granted. An affected party may be a person, a business, or a community organisation, such as a school, an early childhood education centre, or a church, in the area to which the application relates who considers that he or she or it would be adversely affected by the proposal. A Licensing Authority will have the power to dismiss objections it considers frivolous or vexatious, or without foundation.

ENDS

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