Henare O'Keefe's war on alcohol in Flaxmere is alienating some residents, who say they are being unfairly targeted.

But the community stalwart and Flaxmere councillor says he is not surprised by some people's negative reaction, and says it would be for the best for them in the long run.

O'Keefe took his fight against a renewal of Flaxmere Liquor's license to sell alcohol to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority on Tuesday.

He told the authority the suburb was suffering from an "alcohol Holocaust".


The decision is expected to be released in about six weeks.

O'Keefe plans to fight the renewal of all off-license liquor stores in the suburb as they come up one-by-one.

"I was stopped in the street at least four times yesterday and, in fact, people were patting me on the back, saying hang in there, keep fighting," O'Keefe said.

Flaxmere resident John Short is a customer of Flaxmere Liquor, on Swansea Rd, and said there were a number of people who "aren't supportive" of the push to shut down the store.

"People are saying; 'just let us go and buy our beer'," Short said.

He said his stance was not a "witch-hunt" against O'Keefe but he felt like he should also be able to voice his opinion.

He believes if the store were shut down, people in Flaxmere would travel further to buy affordable RTDs, raising the risk of drink-driving in the community.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said it is an "interesting concept" to remove the temptation but "people won't be happy to have to travel to town to get their liquor".


O'Keefe said not having the liquor outlet was "a long-term investment of our people and of the residents of Flaxmere".

"The alcohol outlets in Flaxmere are in very close proximity to each other and research shows that when that is the case, the negative impact of alcohol is accentuated."

He says, like smoking, it becomes habitual over many years and people rely on it for "whatever reason to a large or lesser degree".

"People are going to feel threatened and uneasy about, it but the cost is far too high to roll over and allow it to happen.

"They may want the outlet kept open, but do they need it?"