A bid to overturn an Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority decision not to renew the on- and off-licences for Whatuwhiwhi's Tuatua Tavern has failed.
The High Court, which heard the appeal on September 17, has upheld the decision, made in response to strong opposition from some in the community amid allegations that licence conditions were not being met. Both licences will expire on October 13.
Proprietor Eddie Bellas said yesterday that he has prepared an application for new licences, which he hoped the Far North District Licensing Committee would consider with urgency. If new licences were not granted by October 13 he would have no choice but to close his doors.
He was requesting permission to operate both licences from 4pm to midnight seven days a week, as opposed to the existing 11am to midnight. He understood those hours would not be opposed by the Karikari Charitable Trust Inc, which operates Karikari Educare. The centre backs on to the carpark used by tavern customers. Even if new licences were granted, however, the change would have a significant impact on the business.
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"It's a bit of a bummer," Bellas said. "I'm going to have to lay off some of my [six] staff even with new licences. There won't be enough hours for all of them.
"It's coming up to summer too, and a lot of people are going to go elsewhere if they can't come here until four o'clock in the afternoon. But it is what it is."
One of those who had opposed the renewal of the licences described the High Court's decision as ensuring the safety of children and the community
Bellas said earlier that he had received strong community support for the renewal of the existing licences, including a petition with hundreds of signatures, which would be included in his application to the District Licensing Committee.