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ALAC Says No To 24 Hour Licensing

ALAC Says No To 24 Hour Licensing


JULY 11 2008

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) says Auckland can be an international city without bars being open 24 hours.

Auckland Mayor John Banks yesterday rejected calls from police for a claw back in the city’s opening hours for licensed premises. Mr Banks said Auckland was an international city that should be open all hours. He also believed bars needed to be open 24 hours because of the 2010 rugby World Cup.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan said Auckland's opening hours were now out of step with many cities in the United States, Britain and most Australian states as well as the rest of New Zealand. Many jurisdictions that had adopted 24 hour opening were now pulling back because of the increase in alcohol-related harms.

In New York, an international city with a reputation as the city that never sleeps, the mayor and the state liquor authority were pulling back opening hours from 4am to 3am on weekends and 2am on weekdays, he said. In New South Wales in Australia the police commissioner had called for a sweeping review of extended trading hours. And here in New Zealand, the local authority in Queenstown had pulled back from a 24-hour trading regime to a 21-hour regime.

Mr Vaughan said ALAC was strongly opposed to the blanket use of 24-hour licensing.

``There is evidence to show that there is a link between trading hours and alcohol related harms – the more alcohol is available, the greater the potential for alcohol-related harms including crime and violence,’’ he said.

Mr Vaughan said a uniform policy did not preclude applications being approved for special events such as the Rugby World Cup. However, such exemptions would have to be part of a robust and widely consulted alcohol strategy.

Mr Vaughan said suggestions the city needed to be open 24 hours for tourists were also open to question.

A 2005 survey of tourists visiting New Zealand showed 70.14 percent identified eating out/restaurants as an activity/attraction for them, compared with 16.69 percent who identified bars/nightclubs. The top four attractions were eating out/restaurants, shopping, general sightseeing and walking in the city.


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