Auckland Council is defending its proposed new alcohol policy against claims it doesn't go far enough to try to curb excessive drinking in the city.

The council had wanted to prevent bottle shops and supermarkets from opening until 9am, but supermarkets have successfully pushed a 7am start to liquor sales.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said he wasn't happy to bow to pressure, but the legal wrangling had to stop so they could roll out the policy.

"There are some things that are maybe too hard to win. We look at past court cases and say 'look other people haven't won this type of deal - is it worth the delay?'" he said.

"Sometimes in life you just have to do a bit of give and take but it's not perfect."

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But Cashmore was confident the council had won "the big things".

Currently off licences can sell alcohol until 11pm - that has been revised to 9pm. It is also planning a two-year freeze on new liquor licences, in areas it deems to have problems with alcohol.

Kingsland Liquor Centre owner Sanjay Jamnadas supported the plans, though he said he would have liked the council to go even further, restricting liquor sales from midday until 8pm.

"Eight hours a day is more than enough for trading," he said.

"I've been doing this for the last 22 years, I've seen it all....If it means us losing a bit of turnover so be that. In the long run in terms of crime, shoplifting, thugs in the stores, let's get rid of all that."

But other liquor retailers did not think restricting night hours would help stop violence from people drinking excessively.

Shamsher Singh from Cheers Liquor in Karangahape Rd said most of its customers were business people buying wine on their way home from work.

He said the change would simply drive young people into bars earlier.

Under the plan, bars in the central city will still be able to open until 4am, while closing time in the suburbs will be 3am.

But the deputy mayor defended that decision.

"Some people wanted that to be 1 o'clock and what we were worried about then was people moving," Cashmore said.

"So in the North Shore for instance if your bar shuts at 1, people think 'oh we'll drive to the CBD and get a few more beers in.' We didn't think that was a good idea."

Cashmore was confident the council had struck the right balance needed to maintain a vibrant nightlife, while improving safety.

It comes at the end of a two-year appeal process about the Local Alcohol Policy, which is now subject to a 30-day appeal period.