West Auckland liquor stores have stopped selling spirits and pre-mix drinks during the lockdown because too many people were travelling from far away to buy them.

The move was expected to ease the huge queues that have been snaking around several blocks outside Trusts West Auckland stores as thirsty Kiwis geared up for the second weekend cooped up in their homes.

Trusts said its stores would now only sell beer, wine and cider to in-store customers, bringing it in line with supermarkets and other retailers.

However, customers would still be able to buy spirits and premixes, also known as Ready to Drink, beverages from online stores.

The queue for West Liquor in Glen Eden on Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied
The queue for West Liquor in Glen Eden on Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied

The new regulations were put in place after Trusts data showed the sale of spirits as a proportion of total alcohol revenue had risen significantly since the lockdown began.

It also revealed that at least one-quarter of customers gave addresses from outside West Auckland.

Trusts chief executive Matt Williams said his team made the call after consulting police.

"While there was a negligible change to our customer profiles in some of our stores, we were greatly concerned to find there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that a number of people are travelling from other parts of town to purchase from us," he said.

"We don't believe this is in keeping with the Government's mandate to restrict the movement of people and the spread of Covid-19."

"As a result, we have modified our product mix - reducing the incentive for Aucklanders to leave their area."

It came after footage posted on Instagram showed hundreds of people queuing for West Liquor in Massey.

"Line for alcohol all the way around the store! West Liquor Westgate, Auckland. Alert 4 Lockdown this weekend, or party time?," the caption read.


Another video showed a queue spanning multiple blocks, with hundreds of people lining up to buy alcohol from West Liquor on Railside Ave, in Henderson.

"I think the Trusts should be online sellers like the rest of the country," Amie, who lives in West Auckland, told the Herald.

"This is making a mockery of the lockdown and what we are ultimately trying to achieve. People from all over are travelling to get top shelf from the Trusts."

The Trusts ended its sale of spirits and premixes from 5pm on Saturday, with the ban set to last as long as the country remained at Covid-19 alert level 4.

However, it would be reviewed once New Zealand eased back into alert level 3.

"We regret the inconvenience this may cause to our West Auckland community who have supported us throughout the lockdown," Williams said.


"However we know they will understand that as a community-minded organisation, health and safety must take precedence."

The Trusts stores trading hours would remain the same for the time being but were open to continuous review.