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Revolt against local bottle stores

AMY MCGILLIVRAY
Last updated 05:00 18/04/2012
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NOT ON OUR STREET: Orakei residents believe there are already enough outlets to tempt locals to buy alcohol.

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The uprising against suburban bottle stores is continuing with Orakei residents opposing a proposed outlet within one kilometre of five others.

Goodwill Enterprises Ltd has applied for a licence to open a liquor store in a former Indian restaurant on Kepa Rd, prompting locals to petition against it.

A similar uprising occurred late last year when a licence was granted to a Papatoetoe bottle shop despite their already been two on the same street.

Next month the Otara Papatoetoe Local Board is taking the Liquor Licensing Authority to court over the licence in a test case that may give other communities the power to banish bottle stores.

Mission Bay resident Papa Nahi, who used to live in Kupe St, says the proposed off licence is totally unnecessary given how many others there are nearby.

Students travelling from the street to Selwyn College pass four outlets on their way to and from school, she says.

Nahi started a petition and collected more than 200 signatures before submissions closed on the proposed business earlier this month.

She hopes it will at least raise awareness of the issue and the need for change.

Grounds for opposing the granting of a liquor licence are limited mainly to the character of the applicant and the opening hours of the store.

"You can't actually oppose it because of the harm to the community. The community voice is really limited. Things need to change," Nahi says.

Alec Hawke of Ngati Whatua o Orakei is supporting Nahi's campaign.

"Alcohol and drug abuse have been ongoing problems within our community and we greatly fear another liquor outlet will impact negatively on our efforts," he says.

"We don't like the social implications that could arise and we know that it's not grounds that we can appeal on.

"We're very disappointed about the narrow voice the communities are allowed. The government has to change this."

The Trust submitted against the liquor licence application on the basis of its opening hours.

"Any hours of business at all will be too many for our community and for the vulnerable among us who will be exposed to easy access to alcohol," Hawke says.

Reverend Nick Frater of St James' Anglican Church in Orakei also signed the petition.

"In Kupe St we already have significant problems with alcoholism and violence and we don't need anything that is going to encourage more alcoholism," he said.

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Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer says there is "no public good" in having another liquor store on the Kepa Rd and says it will be an "absolute disgrace" if the licence is granted.

The alcohol reform bill is awaiting its third reading in Parliament and will allow local bodies to develop their own processes for granting liquor licences.

Auckland Council's manager of public law, Helen White, said if the Papatoetoe appeal is successful "it will have a massive impact potentially on other communities" nationwide and would give more weight to the "community voice".

Goodwill Enterprise Ltd director Prashant Pawar could not be reached for comment.

- Auckland Now

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