Liquor licence row heads to court

Last updated 10:11 17/04/2012

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A South Auckland local board will next month challenge the granting of a liquor licence in the High Court at Auckland in a test case that may give other communities the power to banish bottle stores from their neighbourhoods.

The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board is taking the Liquor Licensing Authority to court after it approved a third bottle store on St George St, Papatoetoe, in December last year despite strong community opposition.

In opposing the licence granted to Joban Enterprise, board chairman John McCracken pointed out that within 250 metres of the proposed store there were three off-licences and various schools, early childhood centres and churches.

He also highlighted a problem with alcohol abuse in the area which the authority acknowledged was ''real and very disturbing'' and a ''blight on the Papatoetoe community'', but concluded the additional off-licence would not necessarily contribute to it.

Auckland Council's manager of public law, Helen White, said it was ''not appropriate'' to release the council's submissions before the hearing next month but outlined the grounds for appeal.

White said the council would argue the authority failed to have proper regard for the Sale of Liquor Act and that it required a ''casual nexus'' be proven between the liquor licence and liquor abuse as part of its consideration.

Earlier White said if the appeal was successful ''it will have a massive impact potentially on other communities'' nationwide and would give more weight to the ''community voice''.

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- Auckland Now

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