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Liquor Policy Is "Backward Thinking" Says HANZ

21 September 2009

Media Release
Available for immediate use

‘Council moves to close local Auckland restaurants and bars down early in time for World Cup’

The Auckland City Council’s proposed new Liquor Policy will shut large parts of the city down at 11pm and is backward thinking, especially in light of the upcoming merger to a Super City and the Rugby World Cup, says the Hospitality Association of New Zealand.

All bars and restaurants outside of the CBD and a few entertainment precincts will be closed at 11pm if the proposed new policy is passed by the Council says Hospitality Association Regional Manager Sara Tucker.

Owner of the iconic Auckland live music venue The Kings Arms, Maureen Gordon is in shock at the proposal. ‘The Kings Arms is renowned for supporting New Zealand music and has been a venue for international acts for years’ she said. ‘If the policy is passed as proposed we will lose our late license, it will be the end of live bands and we may be forced to close’.

The Dominion, an up-market bar and restaurant in Dominion Rd close to Eden Park, has recently been renovated in anticipation of the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Co owner John Hellebrekers says ‘there has been a move in recent years towards up market local neighbourhood bars and restaurants – people can enjoy themselves close to home and without transport worries. It would seem a very foolish move to reverse this trend and will cost jobs and livelihoods.’

In Onehunga, owner of The Landing Restaurant and function venue Mark Alsen says   ‘We have business and private functions here all year round and they are an integral part of our business; without them I am concerned our business will become unviable’. He went on to say ‘arrival time for functions is usually between 7:30pm and 8:45pm. Patrons would not even have two hours at their Christmas or corporate function. Not everyone enjoys the inner city atmosphere and would rather enjoy the conveniences in their own community. The public using these facilities on their doorstep would be outraged if they knew the full extent of what was being proposed. ‘

Hospitality Association Auckland Branch President Warren Stewart said the policy if passed would endanger businesses and jobs. He said it flew in the face of common sense and would drive drinkers out of the supervised environments of licensed premises to private parties and public areas and would ensure more would travel into the city late at night. ‘This will cause far more problems for the city than any perceived issues it attempts to solve’ he said.


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