Clubs brace for 10pm closing
Further licensing restrictions proposed for bars, restaurants and bottle stores will have a knock-on effect for more than 200 clubs and not-for-profit organisations in West Auckland.
Auckland Council's draft Local Alcohol Policy proposes shrinking maximum opening hours for licensed premises.
The LAP would have bottle stores outside central city areas closing at 10pm instead of the default 11pm, and bars and restaurants in the same areas closing at 1am instead of 4am.
Some retailers in metropolitan areas will be able to apply for restrictions, including New Lynn. But Henderson, Avondale and Glen Eden have been labelled "priority overlay areas" - identified as experiencing greater levels of alcohol-related harm and not applicable for extended hours.
The restrictions are labelled "draconian" by the west's biggest liquor business The Trusts, which is in charge of responsible liquor sales in West Auckland.
Chief executive Simon Wickham believes the strong controls have resulted in fewer alcohol related problems out west compared to other parts of Auckland.
He says there's no doubt the restrictions will affect business, in turn impacting on organisations out west who rely on funding from The Trusts.
"We haven't had time to assess the exact dollar impact but it will lead to a loss of profit, which will also lead to less money going back into the community."
Wickham is also concerned people will migrate to the city to take advantage of the later closing times.
The Trusts controls the sale and supply of liquor for all licensed bars, restaurants and bottle stores and returns surplus profits to the community. Sponsorship and donations to clubs and organisations numbered around $200,000 between 2012 and 2013 and it was expected to have given away $1 million by the end of this year.
Odyssey House chief executive Philip Grady says the proposal is a good opportunity for people to reflect on the harm alcohol can do to.
"It's a good step in the right direction but the restricted hours can't be the only intervention so we need to think more broadly about host responsibility and awareness about the harm alcohol can cause," he says.
"We need to start sending a clear message that drinking large amounts of alcohol, being in town in the early hours of the morning, getting intoxicated and getting yourself into trouble isn't necessarily the most productive way for people to be spending their time.
"The third part to any strategy needs to be availability of treatment and support options for people who can't moderate their drinking themselves."
Salvation Army director of Auckland addiction services Michael Douglas says the organisation is happy with council's approach but would like to see a one-way door policy implemented for the city centre at 1am to reduce people migrating in the early hours of the morning.
Not everyone is convinced that venues closing at the same time works in the city centre.
Manager David McDermott of The Taphouse in Avondale fears having an earlier closing time for the city centre will create problems.
"I was watching a football game at a bar in the city a couple of weeks ago. At 3.30am it was mayhem on the streets - there were fights and you couldn't get a bite to eat or catch a taxi because they were so many people. It was 5am before I got home," he says.
Submissions can be made on the draft from mid June for a month. Visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/alcohol