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Cap on liquor stores supported

JOSH FAGAN
Last updated 11:04 18/06/2014

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Ninety per cent of Auckland residents would support a cap on the number of off-licences in the city, a survey suggests.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service report, released today, shows 91 per cent of residents want no increase to the number of liquor stores.

But opinions were split over earlier closing times for bars.

Auckland Council's local alcohol policy opened for public submissions this week and has proposed tighter controls on where and how alcohol can be sold - including putting a two-year freeze on new bottle shops in central city and high-priority areas, as well as a 3am closing time for on-licence venues in central city, Ponsonby and Newton.
 
It has already run into opposition from different groups concerned about the impact of restricted liquor sales.

Sixty one per cent of people surveyed in the report said they wanted alcohol venues to close by 2am in the CBD.

Fifty two per cent said they wanted a midnight closing time in the rest of Auckland.

The public also supported off-licences selling booze no earlier than 10am (60-68 per cent, depending on off-licence type), and no later than 10pm (73-78 per cent).

The survey was conducted by randomly calling 800 adults. A number of key demographic groups stood out as wanting stronger controls on availability of alcohol, compared with the rest of the Auckland population, including pacific peoples, women aged 50 years and over and people who never drank larger quantities of alcohol.  

The two groups who were least supportive of controls on alcohol availability were males aged 18 to 29 and people who drank larger quantities at least weekly.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Denise Barnfather said overall Aucklanders made their views loud and clear in support of greater regulation.

"They want the council to make real changes to reduce the accessibility and availability of alcohol," she said.

The alcohol policy was a chance to make an effective contribution towards reducing alcohol-related harm and crime, she said.

Submissions and feedback on the policy can be made at www.shapeauckland.co.nz until July 16.

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