Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall has added his weight to claims local liquor licensing committees have too little influence after the resignation of Philippa Baker-Hogan from the committee in frustration.
She said district licensing committees were put in place so communities could have more say about the way alcohol is sold - but said this wasn't happening.
McDouall said at Whanganui District Council's Tuesday meeting that the inability to enforce the council's Local Alcohol Policy was an immense frustration for him during council's last term.
It was appealed by the liquor industry, which resulted in delay and expense and supermarkets being able to sell alcohol until 10pm instead of the 9.30pm the council preferred.
It was "galling" to lose that closing time, and he said the act only ostensibly gave communities more say.
"The way it's structured isn't helpful. It doesn't encourage councils to put in a local alcohol policy," he said.
"The appeals process is just not working for local authorities to actually meet the intent of the original act."
He agreed with Baker-Hogan that the new Government may be able to improve the law.
Baker-Hogan said people who worked in public health were completely frustrated with the ineffectiveness of the legislation.
She said more liquor outlets resulted in more and bigger harm from alcohol and measures decided by committees have been appealed by liquor companies.
"The alcohol industry has got flasher lawyers and bigger pockets than councils and communities."
Councillor Helen Craig said it was a big issue, and suggested taking a remit to Local Government New Zealand, which McDouall said could be effective.
"Local Government New Zealand can actually go and lobby, with every territorial authority's support."
More evidence also needs to be gathered about alcohol-related injuries and crime around liquor outlets, he said.
Councillors also approved the appointment of former mayor Annette Main and New Plymouth man Murray Clearwater, who has experience on licencing committees, to Whanganui's committee.
Baker-Hogan voted against both as a matter of principle and Cr Rob Vinsen voted against Murray Clearwater, because he is not from Whanganui.
"There is no need to appoint a person from New Plymouth to a position that can quite easily be filled by a local person," he said.