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Aucklanders to get say on alcohol policy

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Aucklanders are to have their say on proposals regarding the sale and supply of alcohol.
Aucklanders are to have their say on proposals regarding the sale and supply of alcohol.

Aucklanders are to have their say on proposals regarding the sale and supply of alcohol after the approval of Auckland Council's draft Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) by the Regional and Strategy and Policy Committee.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (SSAA) 2012 gave the council the ability to develop a single policy for its district.

The policy includes regulations relating to licensing decisions of on-licences, off-licences, club and special licences.

It does not include regulation about alcohol control areas (liquor bans).

"This draft policy has been more than 18 months in development and is informed by engagement with hospitality and retail industries, police, the Medical Officer of Health, licensing inspectors and health agencies," says committee chair, Councillor Wood.

Guidance from council's elected members and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and the community that attended a number of workshops, has also influenced the final draft.

"As a council we are looking for a policy that balances the need to minimise alcohol-related harm with the desire to have a vibrant, exciting yet safe Auckland for residents and visitors to enjoy."

Among the key proposals included in the draft are:

Establishing two broad areas and priority area overlays:

Broad Area A will encompass Auckland's city centre and streets in Newton and Ponsonby commercial areas.
Broad Area B will take in the rest of Auckland.
Priority overlay of streets and areas experiencing greater levels of alcohol-related harm

The draft policy proposes the following for on-licences (i.e. bars, restaurants, taverns):

Broad Area A: the policy proposes standard maximum trading hours of 9am to 3am, with an option for best practice operators to have trial extensions of up to two hours (e.g. to 5am)
Broad area B: the policy proposes standard maximum hours of 9am-1am, with the option for some premises, especially those located in metropolitan centres such as Albany or Sylvia Park, to apply for trial extensions
Priority overlay areas: Premises is these areas would have the same hours as the underlying broad area and would not be eligible for trial extensions.
Location and density issues would be managed through the introduction of the environmental and cumulative impact assessment tool. This would be used to determine the impact of certain new licensed premises could have on alcohol-related harm
This assessment would also be one of the requirements for those applying for trial extensions.

The policy proposes the following for following off-licences (i.e. supermarkets, bottle stores):

Region-wide maximum trading hours of 9am-10pm for all off-licences (including supermarkets)
A 24-month freeze on the issuing of new off-licences in Broad Area A and Priority overlay areas. This policy tool will help manage density and alcohol-related harm due to the proliferation of outlets

The policy includes regulations relating to licensing decisions of on-licences, off-licences, club and special licences. It does not include regulation about alcohol control areas (liquor bans).

"This draft is a good start, now we want the community to tell us what they think and whether we have the balance right," says Councillor Wood.

Submissions on the council's draft Local Alcohol Policy will open mid- June and run for a month.

Following the consultation period, hearings will be held and a provisional policy adopted by governing body. Those who submitted on the draft policy will have the option of appealing the provisional policy.

A full copy of the draft policy presented to committee, and detail about the development of the policy is available on the council's website.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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