World Cup half time strip show gets licensing OK

Dancers working at the White House on Queen Street in central Auckland. File photo / Chris Loufte
Dancers working at the White House on Queen Street in central Auckland. File photo / Chris Loufte

An Auckland brothel's half-time strip-show during a match of last year's Rugby World Cup didn't breach alcohol licensing rules, despite the television not being on when the police checked.

Police conducted a license check at The White House on Auckland's Queen Street at 5:33am one morning during last year's tournament.

Auckland bars and clubs must shut by 4am under rules introduced in 2013, although a law change allowed licensed premises to extend their trading hours to screen Rugby World Cup games.

During the check at The White House, the police found that the television was off and a female stripper was dancing on the stage.

"On enquiring of the duty manager as to why the TV was off, the duty manager replied that 'it was half-time and there was no rugby on TV but advertisements'. A short time later staff turned the TV and the second half of the rugby game started," a decision from the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority released publicly today says.

Police had argued before the licensing authority that the half-time break was part of the Rugby World Cup broadcast and because patrons were watching a dancer on the stage instead of watching the game during the break, The White House had breached the rules.

They wanted the licensing authority to suspend or cancel The White House's on-license.
But The White House successfully opposed that bid.

"The question is not so much one of whether the 'game' includes the half-time break. Instead the question is whether the primary or sole purpose for being open..was to televise the game," the authority said.

Evidence from The White House was that the television was turned off one or two minutes after the first half was finished and was turned back on during the second half. There was no dancing on stage while the game was on, the strip-club and brothel said.

"Accordingly, the authority is of the opinion that the Police have not established that the sole or primary purpose of the premises being open during the extended trading hours was something other than to allow customers to watch the televised game," the regulatory body said.

- NZ Herald

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