Booze in Mission arena only

By Doug Laing


Car-boot parties could still be possible as part of pre-Mission Concert revelry after a licensing authority banned carpark and queuing-area liquor sales.

The ban came in an appeal decision released yesterday by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (Arla).

The decision, on a police appeal against conditions of a licence set by the District Licensing Agency, excludes carparks and "holding" areas from those licensed for sales, thereby confining sales to the concert arena.

Promoters of the February 23 concert had previously been permitted by the agency to sell liquor from 1pm in waiting areas, off the road and on private land outside the arena.

As an option, the Arla will allow sales to start from 1pm in the arena if the promoters wish, but Mission Estate chief executive Peter Holley said plans were to stick with a 3pm opening for the gates and the liquor booths within. Searches planned at entrances to the holding areas will, however, now be concentrated with ticketing at the entrances to the arena.

Police alcohol-harm prevention manager Senior Sergeant Fred van Duuren emphasised a liquor ban would remain in force in streets around the concert, which will feature Barry Gibb and Carole King.

Judge John Hole says in the decision the authority agrees with police that to include the carpark and holding areas in the special licence as "possible liquor abuse ramifications".

"Supplying alcohol in these circumstances, especially in unshaded areas possibly subject to a blazing Hawke's Bay sun, could cause tempers to fray and disorder to erupt," he said.

That would be less likely to occur inside the arena, he said.

Meanwhile, concertgoers have been put on notice that alcohol problems could lead to closure of the booths, rather than a reduction of serving limits.

Judge Hole said the "applicant" had said that if police required maximum serve limits to be reduced from four to two, liquor booths would be closed in an "orderly way," because as a "good employer" it would not put staff at risk of abuse from patrons.


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