Tauranga bar owners are pinning their hopes on Prime Minister John Key succeeding in fast-tracking legislation to allow pubs to open for early morning Rugby World Cup games featuring the All Blacks.

With the All Blacks' first pool game against Argentina looming in less than six weeks, time is running out for publicans to apply for special liquor licences.

Tauranga City Council liquor licensing inspector Graeme Cushing said that so far no applications had been received.

"They are hanging their hat on the Government," he said.


Special liquor licences normally needed 20 working days to be processed to allow time to gather feedback from the police, Toi Te Ora Public Health and the council. Mr Cushing said the process could be shortened but there was always a risk it might not be granted in time if applications arrived late.

The talk from two publicans who might be interested in special licences was that they would only be for the games starting from the quarter-finals in mid-October, he said.

"It certainly seems like there is a willingness to do something in Parliament."

Tauranga bar owners spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times all indicated they were waiting to see what happened with the bill that would allow bars to open outside normal hours for some matches. The Government's bill was likely to apply just to All Black games and the sudden-death knockout rounds.

The Government stepped in after a bid by the Act Party for bars to open for every World Cup match was shot down when the Greens refused to grant leave for the bill to be debated.

Cameron Keogh, the owner of Fraser Cove's Worlds End bar, said it would not be worthwhile to get special licences for all the All Blacks' matches. If the special legislation failed, he would be looking at applying for special licences for some of the knockout matches and the final.

However, they would be showing every game whether it was a little delayed or live.

"We will be getting people down for breakfast ..."


Jeetu Sandhu of the downtown's H2O Gaming Sports Bar said they would be doing something special if the legislation was passed. "There's no point making plans now if we don't know what is going on."

He said they might open early to allow people to watch the major game at the end of the tournament.

Phoenix Bar manager Joseph Gordon said they would consider opening early for the final if the All Blacks made it through but otherwise they would not be opening.

Making alcohol available could impact on people's jobs and opening at 4am meant they would not be responsible hosts.

Ian Settle of Greers Gastro Bar in Greerton said he intended sticking with their normal hours and to show replays where appropriate. He said premises on The Strand would be pulling out the stops to show the big games, but Greers was in a suburban setting and very few customers stayed to watch last weekend's All Blacks game that finished at midnight.

"It will be chock-a-block for Saturday's game though."

He would make a separate call for an early opening if the All Blacks made the final.

Colin Milne, of The Crown and Badger, said he would not be going through the hassle and costs of applying for special licences.

Games from the quarter-finals onwards which started after 7am would be shown live, while earlier games would be replayed from 7am.