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Strong message sent to liquor retailers

MEDIA RELEASE

26 May 2005

Strong message sent to liquor retailers

The Liquor Licensing Authority has agreed with Auckland City Council applications to have the off-licenses of three outlets suspended after they were found to have sold liquor to minors.

The authority also agreed with an application to suspend the certificates for five general managers.

The suspensions were ordered after a controlled purchase operation was conducted in November 2004 by Auckland City, which acts in a regulatory role as the Auckland District Licensing Agency.

This operation involved two minors, one aged 17 years and three months, the other 16 years and seven months, attempting to purchase liquor.

Section 155 of the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 prohibits the sale of liquor to anyone under the age of 18 years.

The operation took place over one weekend and a total of 70 premises were visited. At 31 of these, either no questions were asked about the volunteer’s age or there was no request for identification. A number of these premises chose to take a voluntary suspension of their off-license for two days.

Geoff Atherfold, team leader of regulatory services at Auckland City, says the results of the operation were disappointing.

“While it’s disappointing how many outlets sold liquor to the volunteers, what is even more worrying is how often it was the managers who made the sale. The Liquor Licensing Authority has sent a strong message that selling liquor to minors will not be tolerated,” says Mr Atherfold.

“Since the drinking age was lowered from 20 to 18 five years ago, there have been a number of initiatives designed to bring the issue of selling liquor to minors to the attention of those who are in the business. There is absolutely no excuse for outlets selling liquor to minors and if they do, we will prosecute,” he says.

The final orders of the Liquor Licensing Authority were:
suspension of the off-license issued to Trusha Trading Company Limited, known as Mount Eden Foodmarket, for five days. The operator, Jayesh Chhotu Patel, had his General Manager certificate suspended for 30 days.
suspension of the off-license issued to Barjinder Singh, known as Cobra Liquor in Ellerslie, for two days. The licensee, Barjinder Singh, had his General Manager Certificate suspended for ten days.
suspension of the off-license issued to S & J Kesha Limited, known as Ellerslie Four Square Discount, for five days. The owner/operator, Shanital (Tom) Kesha, had his General Manager Certificate suspended for seven days.
suspension of the General Manager Certificate issued to Michael Damian Wagg for 30 days.
suspension of the General Manager Certificate issued to Materoa Timothy David Kowhai was suspended for 20 days.

Ends

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