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Liquor store 'no asset'

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
Mt Albert Liquor Store
JASON OXENHAM

NO MORE: Opponents of the Kiwi Drive Liquor store proposed for the corner of New North Rd and Asquith Ave show their feelings. Further protests are planned.

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Angry residents are lobbying to stop a bottle store opening up in a prominent Mt Albert location.

They are opposed to any new bottle stores in the area and protested on the same day the Emkay Trading Company's application to open the Kiwi Drive Liquor outlet on New North Rd was publicly notified for the first time.

Around 30 people turned up for the hastily arranged protest.

Emkay Trading has applied for a liquor licence to run a bottle shop in the former garage on the corner of Asquith Ave and New North Rd, with trading hours of 7am to midnight.

The site is currently occupied by a coffee shop.

Residents, church members and representatives of the Albert-Eden Local Board and Auckland Council turned out to send a simple message - no more liquor outlets.

They planned to repeat their effort in greater numbers last night and will gather again tomorrow night. A petition is also circulating.

The group says there are already ample opportunities for people to buy alcohol in Mt Albert and they would rather see diverse, high-quality and productive businesses establishing in the community.

Resident Francis Mortimer has driven the objections and says support is growing. "Residents are not about to let another liquor store open in our neighbourhood," he says.

"We already have one further along New North Rd and on the other side of the railway bridge at Morningside, not to mention the supermarket at Westfield St Lukes which can supply as much beer and wine as you can drink," Mr Mortimer says.

"This will not be an asset to the Mt Albert shops nor the Mt Albert village, especially as the local board is working on improvements to the area."

He says the nearest store to the proposed Kiwi Drive Liquor is 100 metres away, and there is another one a further 100 metres from that.

People against proposed new outlets are limited in what they can do under exisiting legislation.

The Sale of Liquor Act limits objections to areas like the suitability of applicants and the hours of trading.

People opposing on the grounds of proliferation have to demonstrate to a very high standard how an additional outlet will cause harm to the community.

The Alcohol Reform Bill was passed last week and will allow councils to develop alcohol policies that may address matters including location, density and maximum trading hours of off-licences.

The council will be working on an alcohol policy over the next year and will consult with the community.

Auckland councillor Cathy Casey was among those protesting says she hopes is the applicant will pull out.

"The Government has just passed legislation that will give us some teeth but not for another year," she says.

A spokesman for Emkay Trading Company could not be reached for comment.

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