A new alcohol ban bylaw that may soon go out for public consultation has been described by some councillors as targeting lower socio-economic areas.

However, a council staff member says the proposed changes are minor.

At a Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday the committee discussed a new alcohol ban bylaw.

The existing Public Places Liquor Control Bylaw expires this year.

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Under the proposal, more than 40 reserves, roads and carparks would have a 24/7 alcohol ban in place.

The council's acting group manager, Henry Weston, said what was being proposed was "essentially taking out the bylaw that's already in place for public consultation".

"We're not suggesting any dramatic changes we're putting out what is essentially the status quo."

Many of the streets and reserves already have bans in place listed on the council website.

Some of the new locations are Selwyn Rd Reserve, Wrigley Rd Reserve and Diana Pl Reserve, as well as parts of Ford Rd.

Some committee members were concerned low socio-economic areas seemed to be the ones being targeted.

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Councillor Tania Tapsell questioned why that appeared to be the case.

The council's manager of community and regulatory services, Neven Hill, told the committee the areas under consideration were ones where there had previously been issues.

Linton Park East and West Reserves are both in the 24/7 alcohol ban proposed bylaw.
Linton Park East and West Reserves are both in the 24/7 alcohol ban proposed bylaw.

"What wasn't supported by the police was a district-wide ban on all reserves because they said it was unenforceable by them.

"Where there had been issues raised we wanted to work in partnership with those communities."

Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said the committee was talking about a "better class of drinker".

"We're saying there are some reserves we're not going to impose a ban on because they're a better class of drinker.

"You drink, you drink and we're saying 'No you're on the other side of the track that means you're not uptown you're downtown so we've got to put some safety things [in place] because we're looking out for you'."

Raukawa-Tait said she was interested to see what feedback would be received.

The proposed bylaw includes 24/7 bans at multiple locations. Photo / File
The proposed bylaw includes 24/7 bans at multiple locations. Photo / File

The police put together a report on alcohol-related offending to support the bylaw change.

The report revealed that of the 2593 offences recorded between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018, in Rotorua a total of 1604 (64 per cent) were known or estimated to be alcohol-related.

The report also looked at when alcohol-related offending occurred.

It said between 9pm and 6am an estimated 75 per cent of offending was alcohol-related.
Between 4pm and 9pm that was 50 per cent of offending while between 6am and 4pm an estimated 25 per cent of offending was alcohol-related.

Police also identified 292 offences in current liquor ban zones.

Councillor Dave Donaldson said the community could also bring up areas which weren't in the proposed bylaw through the consultation process.

The committee recommended to the full council the proposal and alcohol ban bylaw be approved for special consultation and the council should hear and deliberate on public submissions.

If the council approves the consultation, it is likely to run from August 30 to October 10.

What's being considered
- An Alcohol Ban Bylaw banning the consumption of alcohol and restricting the possession and transport of alcohol in some public places.
- Alcohol consumption would not be allowed in specified public places.
- The possession of alcohol would be allowed when transporting, carrying or delivering alcohol through an area.
- Police would have the power to seize alcohol, search bags and vehicles and arrest or fine people breaching the bylaw.