Retailers are disappointed at Auckland Council moving towards restricting the sale of booze, despite claims the proposed policy is pandering to the liquor industry.

The council has amended its proposed alcohol policy. If adopted it would require retail liquor outlets to close by 9pm.

Retail NZ spokesman Greg Harford says the move would be an inconvenience to the public.

The Government has set default national trading hours for liquor shops from 7am to 11pm, he says, and there's no demonstrable evidence to suggest that reducing those hours will in anyway reduce alcohol related harm.


Harford says the current national trading hours for liquor shops are reasonable.

However, the proposed policy is being criticised as pandering to the liquor industry.

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.

Bars in the central city will be able to open until 4am, while closing time in the suburbs will be 3am.

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman can't see why anyone needs to buy alcohol at 7am.

He says the only winners will be the liquor industry, but it doesn't reflect what the community expects.

Meanwhile, the council is also planning a two-year freeze on new liquor licences, in areas it deems to have problems with alcohol.

The decision comes at the end of a two-year appeal process about the Local Alcohol Policy.


Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says since February last year, 23 new off-licences have been granted across the region.

He says a lot of them are in areas linked to higher crime and anti-social behaviour.

Newman says the moratorium on new liquor outlets is welcome, but the horse has already bolted in some communities.

He says the market is literally saturated with operators, who either have on or off-licences.

The policy is subject to a 30-day appeal period.