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‘Back to the future’ ropes set to go back up

‘Back to the future’ ropes set to go back up around supermarket wine

Aucklanders will soon no longer be able to buy their bottle of wine or box of beer from their local supermarket before 9am or after9pm following the Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy being passed at the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee today by 14 votes to one.

“Going back to the old days when wine sections were roped off is definitely a ‘Back To The Future’ step. I don’t believe penalising early morning mum or dad grocery shoppers or the likes of shift workers in the evening will make any difference whatsoever,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei Cameron Brewer who voted against the policy.

“The statutory purpose of Sale And Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 was all about minimising alcohol harm. I just don’t believe roping off wine to prevent busy people from buying it will reduce any alcohol problems this country, but I look forward to being proved wrong.”

He says it is further disappointing the hearings panel overturned the draft LAP proposal which suggested off-licenses be allowed to open for a maximum of 9am to 10pm.

“Supermarkets are very heavily regulated and supervised. Not even a little old lady can buy a bottle of wine without a supervisor being called to eye her up and sign it off. These places are well lit and effectively well ‘policed’ by the general public queued up behind any purchaser. Yet when it comes to maximum hours they’re effectively now being treated like the worst of our backstreet bottle stores.”

Mr Brewer says overall the Local Alcohol Policy Hearings Panel has done well to improve the initial draft LAP policy that went out for public consultation last year.

“I’m pleased pubs and clubs in the central city have the opportunity to remain open until 4am, not shut at 3am as was initially proposed. And I’m pleased our popular town centres like Newmarket, Parnell and Takapuna have to opportunity to remain open until 3am, not shut at 1am as was initially proposed.”

Mr Brewer says local areas will be protected by new licences or licence renewals now having to be assessed against a Local Impacts Report.

“The on-licence rules are looking much better, but I am concerned that for off-licences, the likes of our great supermarket operators, with no blemishes on their liquor licence, will have absolutely no chance now to apply to sell wine and beer to their customers before 9am or after 9pm. It’s a very blunt blanket ban.

“To me roping off wine in supermarkets is more about being seen to be doing something. I can’t see that particular measure reducing overall alcohol harm in New Zealand as I simply don’t think our early morning and mid-evening suburban grocery shoppers are the real problem here,” says Mr Brewer

Ends

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