3.30pm

West Aucklanders have voted resoundingly against a proposal to allow the sale of wine and beer in supermarkets.

Supermarket chains Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs had forced a poll on whether the estimated $12 million annual liquor trade should be thrown open to competition.

West Auckland Licensing Trusts have had that monopoly in the area for 30 years.

Postal ballot papers were sent to 70,000 residents in the Portage area and 75,000 in the Waitakere Trust area and votes were accepted up until midday today.

The vote was not a landslide - a preliminary count has found 47774 people voted against the supermarkets' proposal, while 33927 were in favour.

The final numbers will be announced tomorrow after special votes have been counted.

Yesterday the supermarket chains saids they would not give up their quest to be able to sell wine and beer in West Auckland.

"Obviously the result is disappointing for us, but we are pleased to have the opportunity to bring this issue up for discussion," said Ted Van Arkel, managing director of Progressive Enterprises.

The supermarkets were plugging the poll as a question of freedom of choice.

The trusts said their donations to community groups would disappear if they lost the liquor trading privileges.

The supermarkets said they would be investigating a number of options to bring wine and beer sales to West Auckland supermarket shoppers, including another poll in three years time.

- HERALD STAFF