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Boards unite to fight more liquor stores

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 08:41 08/11/2012
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TROELS SOMMERVILLE
OBJECTION: Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board chairman Peter Skelton is taking a stand against bottle shops in the area.

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The crackdown on bottle shops is intensifying with another local community adding its voice to the fray.

The Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board has joined Otara-Papatoetoe in voting unanimously to object to all new off-licence liquor applications in its area.

The board will also object to all renewals of existing off-licences unless stores voluntarily adopt hours between 10am and 8pm, Monday to Saturday.

Many stores now operate from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.

The local board recognises the move might not hold much sway with the Liquor Licensing Authority but it's all about sending a message.

"It's building up that social attitude - it might not happen overnight," board member Carrol Elliot says.

Chairman Peter Skelton says the move seeks to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse in the area which can be exacerbated by bottle shops opening late.

"Our local board is very concerned about alcohol abuse and we put that message out very strongly during the Rugby World Cup when we had the alcohol-free fan zone, which was very successful," Mr Skelton says.

"We're keeping on the same track. We want people to know you don't have to go to the party full of alcohol, there are other ways to enjoy the party and the people you're with."

Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman John McCracken says he's delighted with the move.

His board formally adopted the policy in September but has been opposing every new off-licence application in the area for the past 12 to 18 months, he says.

And the move is paying dividends, with many liquor vendors withdrawing their applications after local board opposition.

But Manurewa Local Board won't be following suit, its chairwoman Angela Dalton says.

The board now spends time each week reviewing liquor licence applications and deciding which to lodge objections to.

"But generally if it's a new off-licence, we're going to object," Ms Dalton says.

"We don't want any more liquor stores - there's no doubt about that."

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- Manukau Courier

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