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Patrons protect illegal bar locations

WIN Party Media Release

10.09.2005

Hotel owners, operators and patrons protect illegal bar locations

The growing problem of unlicensed, illegal bars that have spread nationwide following the smoking bans introduction is here to stay until government repeals the existing smokefree legislation.

"The WIN Party has clearly identified one hundred and twelve bars whose operators are selling alcohol in contravention of the Sale of Liquor Act", says WIN spokesperson Dave Clarke.

"The illegal bars I'm referring to are not the 'garage bars' set up by smokers where they take their own alcohol and can socialise in relative comfort with their mates".

"They are the straight out commercial, and at sometimes very sophisticated ventures, where alcohol is sold at a profit and as to how many more such bars are out there that we are not aware of is anyone's guess".

"Hotel owners who have lost customers to these bars tip us off with enough information that allows us to locate, gain entry into and confirm any illegal sale of alcohol".

"Every hotelier who has tipped us off has done so with a proviso that we do not notify police of the bars location".

"Some hotel owners fear retribution from operators and customers if illegal bars in their areas are raided and shut down".

"The remainder of hoteliers however, while admitting their businesses are hurting from the illegal bar trade, reckon its 'Un-Kiwi' to give these people up".

"South Canterbury police were recently reported as have had no joy locating the illegal bars supposedly operating in the region, which comes as no surprise given the effort operators and customers go to in protecting these bars".

"While there may be real commitment by South Canterbury police to stamp out the illegal bar trade, in other areas it's different".

"A Wairarapa illegal bar, its existence known to police long before the smoking ban came into force, has had a brisk increase in trade in smokefree times, but police have not moved to shut it down".

"A South Auckland illegal bar, in existence long before the smoking ban was introduced, is patronised by off duty police officers".

"Most Kiwis want police out there hunting down methamphetamine labs, not seeing resources and manpower wasted on finding illegal 'smoke friendly' bars or protecting Health Ministry out on the prowl looking for breaches of the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act".

"Authorities will not see the illegal 'smoke friendly' bars disappear until the existing smokefree legislation is repealed and replaced with a 'Clean Air' standard that allows for smoking bars to exist legally".

ENDS

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