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Call to block liquor shops

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 08:44 22/06/2012
Browns Bay Liquor
MARYKE PENMAN
BOOZE BAN: Hibiscus and Bays local board chairwoman Julia Parfitt is calling for the applications for two liquor licences in Browns Bay to be declined.

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A plethora of liquor shops will sap the life out of Browns Bay, a local board chairwoman says.

Applications for two individual liquor stores in Browns Bay are being considered, with one vying to stay open until midnight.

Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt says they are simply not wanted.

"We want Browns Bay to be a vibrant shopping centre with a variety of shops where you can get your books out at the library, get your coffee and your groceries without being bombarded by liquor shops and their prolific advertising."

The Alcohol Advisory Council has announced it will commission new research to determine the impact of new liquor outlets on communities.

Preliminary research suggests off-licence liquor outlets are associated with a range of social harms including violence, sexual, drug, alcohol and property offences, as well as motor vehicle accidents.

Lead author of the reports Michael Cameron says the results show associations between liquor outlet density and selected social harms.

Dr Cameron says the findings show a range of alcohol-related harm is positively associated with increasing liquor outlet density for both off-licence and on-licence premises.

There are three existing liquor shops in Browns Bay within a one kilometre radius.

Ms Parfitt says another two are unnecessary.

"We don't see them as adding any value, in fact we see them as detracting," she says.

"The type of crude sandwich board advertising just cheapens the look of the whole centre and does nothing to draw people to the shops."

The expansion of Westfield Albany, Mrs Parfitt says has drawn customers away from Browns Bay and has led to a number of empty retail tenancies.

"The retail mix of Browns Bay is a concern to local board members. We don't see the solution being more liquor outlets," Mrs Parfitt says.

ALAC chief executive Gerard Vaughan says the Alcohol Reform Bill before Parliament will make local authorities consider the effects on the community of renewing or issuing new liquor licences and widen the grounds to object them. The legislation may be passed as soon as next month bringing major liquor licensing changes nationwide.

Under the bill local authorities will have the right to fix charges as they do with resource consent applications.

A new "split age" is proposed preventing the sale of alcohol to under 20s at off-licences like supermarkets, as well as introducing maximum trading hours from 7am to 11pm for off-licences.

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- North Shore Times

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