Developer keen to work around booze ban

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 07:25 28/11/2012

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Another liquor shop is set to open in suburban Papakura if a local developer succeeds in overturning a ban.

Murray Guy, who owns the shopping centre on the corner of Prictor St and Clevedon Rd, is taking steps to overturn a ban on having an off-licence liquor store on site.

The resource consent explicitly bans the sale of alcohol on the property but Mr Guy says he is struggling to lease out the remaining empty shops.

He says he has been approached by "eight to 10 people who have wanted to put in a liquor store" in the past year but he has had to say no.

"It's called a convenience centre and all convenience centres have liquor outlets," he says.

In preparation for his attempt to change the resource consent Mr Guy has approached 14 immediate neighbours, of which two say they will oppose a liquor store, "one or two" are unsure and the rest say "they don't have a problem with it".

There are at least five liquor outlets within 1km of the property and Papakura High School is less than 250m away.

But Mr Guy says that should not be a problem.

"If they're going to sell to high school students they're going to be closed down."

Councillor Calum Penrose says he received letters from concerned residents after they were contacted by Mr Guy.

He says as long as they rent their shops "landlords don't care about their communities and surroundings".

He expects applications will continue to come "thick and fast" until the Alcohol Law Reform Bill is passed - a view shared by the Justice Minister and Papakura MP Judith Collins.

She says once the bill is passed there will be "much stricter rules" including a three-strikes rule which would see outlets that sell to minors lose their licence for five years.

"There's a lot of that going on... [but after the act] they will lose their business real fast," she says.

The bill will also give police more power to prosecute and give local boards and residents a greater say in alcohol policy in their area.

Mrs Collins says until then residents should put pressure on MPs to support the bill.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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