Editorial: Letting the genie out of bottle

By Roger Moroney

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If bottle stores simply sold empty bottles there would be no wringing of hands and fears the neighbourhood was about to dissolve into mayhem.

But bottle stores don't sell empty bottles - they're full ones - of alcoholic fluids.

Alcohol has a reputation. It is a legal stimulant which has the ability to create woe, although it's not an evil thing. Only the amount consumed, and the often disturbingly young age of some consumers, are what make it questionable.

A wine with dinner is fine, as are a few cold lagers on a pleasant afternoon, but there are some powerful drops out there in bottlestoreland which appear to be aimed at anyone who wants to break the shackles of sense and sobriety.

But they are legal - just so long as the seller obeys the rules.

News that three new bottle stores for the Bay are to be considered by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority next month has left many people stirred, if not shaken. One in Hastings, one in Taradale and one in Waipukurau.

The Taradale application has created the most reaction, as it is in a high-profile spot in the retail sector. Some say it will attract the wrong types and that there is no place for alcohol trading in that part of town - despite the fact there are already bars in the main street.

It could be argued that people buying alcohol will not linger. That they will call in, grab their beverage of choice, and leave. But opponents believe the buyers will linger, and for all the wrong reasons.

The decision of the authority will be interesting. If it gets the tick then the other word in the authority's title needs to firmly come into play - regulatory.

It must be firmly regulated, and perhaps a six-month "trial" - and if all goes well the bottles stay on the shelves. If not, they come down.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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