Whanganui supermarkets and off-licences could soon have to stop selling alcohol by 9.30pm - 90 minutes earlier than they do now.

The change is included in Whanganui District Council's provisional local alcohol policy which was approved on Monday by its statutory management committee.

Off-licences are currently able sell alcohol until 11pm under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act but the local alcohol policy - the council's first - will over-ride this should it get through an appeals process.

The full council will approve the provisional policy on July 4 and if there are no appeals within 30 days it can be adopted by council.


Safer Whanganui spokeswoman Lauren Tamehana welcomed the provisional policy.

"Safer Whanganui is concerned about the amount of alcohol-related harm in our community and we now have a well-researched policy that will work towards minimising that harm," she said.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said the policy was the product of a collaborative effort between a range of community groups.

"The submissions to the policy indicated strong support from the community to make changes to the way people access alcohol, such as reducing hours at on-licences and limiting the number of off-licences," he said.

The committee had to be recalled on Tuesday to revoke and replace one of the resolutions it approved a week ago.

A typo meant the committee had endorsed 8am as the earliest supermarkets, bottle stores, hotels and bars could begin selling alcohol. But resolution should have said 7am which is what was in the draft policy.

"Just a simple typo," senior policy advisor Marianne Cavanagh told the committee.

Mr McDouall said there was no evidence to support an 8am opening and given 7am was what was consulted on, not correcting the error would open up the council to appeal.
"Apart from this typo everything went smoothly, so we can forgive this," he said.

Whanganui's provisional local alcohol policy

* No new off-licences (with the exception of supermarkets and grocery stores) will be granted if they are determined to be within 100m of the legal site boundary to a sensitive site.

* Sensitive sites now include new alcohol treatment centres, children's playgrounds, early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, marae and places of worship.

* Off-licences in the Whanganui district will be limited to 16, excluding supermarkets and grocery stores.

* A one-way door restriction will apply to on-licences where licensed hours exceed midnight.

* Maximum hours for clubs are 8am to midnight.

* Maximum licensed hours for off-licences, grocery stores, and supermarkets 7am to 9.30pm.