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ALAC Supports Reduced Opening Hours

ALAC Supports Reduced Opening Hours
PRESS RELEASE
24 SEPTEMBER 2009


The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has welcomed plans by the Auckland City Council to claw back opening hours for Auckland bars and restaurants.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan said longer opening hours provided for greater availability of alcohol. “Greater availability is linked to greater harms and increased public disorder.”

Mr Vaughan welcomed the proposed cut in hours in the central business district from 24 hour to 1am closing for the first year with the ability to apply for a 3am or 24 hour licence after that.

He pointed to an Auckland City Police report which found that ‘Auckland Central has a much higher proportion of its recorded violence occurring between 11pm and 5am than the rest of the country’. The report says that ‘Auckland City Police believe that the 24 hour licensing in the Central Business District is contributing to the rise in violence by attracting large numbers of young people into the city. With the easy availability of alcohol they become intoxicated in large numbers and suffer harm as a result’.

Mr Vaughan said an Otago University study surveyed community sentiment toward local alcohol problems and their regulation in six local government areas in New Zealand.

Around half of respondents agreed that their local government was responsible for ensuring alcohol did not become a problem in their community, and there was strong support for local governments to restrict the hours of operation of on-licensed premises, to use liquor bans to control drinking in public places, and for local governments and police to be stricter in their enforcement of drinking laws.

Mr Vaughan said Auckland could be a vibrant international city with reduced opening hours.

“In New York, an international city with a reputation as the city that never sleeps, the mayor and the state liquor authority are 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.”

ENDS

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