Pahiatua supermarket smarting from liquor sting suspension
A Pahiatua supermarket is banned from selling booze until the weekend after failing a police alcohol sting.
The Pahiatua New World's alcohol section has been cordoned off since Tuesday and it will stay that away until Saturday morning.
According to the New Zealand Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority's decision, the supermarket did not dispute police applications to suspend its licence to sell alcohol.
In a submission to the authority, New World Pahiatua owners Jason and Rachel Griggs said reasonable steps were taken to stop underage people buying alcohol for their supermarket. But, on October 14, an employee overrode the birth-date alert on the checkout register to make a sale to the under-age child involved in the sting.
Considering the circumstances, the authority decided it would be unfair to slap the supermarket with the usual five day ban.
Instead, the New World's liquor licence was suspended for three days, ending at 8am on Saturday.
Three Palmerston North establishments were also stuck with suspensions in April after getting snapped selling to minors in a pre-Christmas sting.
In early April, Stuff reported the Manawatu Golf Club's eatery Hokowhitu Cafe and Bar, and Angkor Restaurant were hit by a three-day ban.
A later authority decision revealed The Lab Restaurant on Broadway, as the third.
The Lab got a three-day suspension and the duty manager involved lost their manager's certificate for 28 days.
All four businesses were also given "negative holdings" by the authority. Three negative holdings in a three-year period results in the authority having to consider if the licence should be cancelled.
The Pahiatua supermarket is not the only New World in the area facing licensing frustrations.
Melody's New World is waiting on a decision from the Palmerston North District Licensing Committee about whether the supermarket will need to tuck its alcohol cartons completely out of sight.
Medical officer of health Rob Weir said the labelling on alcohol boxes counted as promotion or advertising. He wanted the aisle ends of the booze section and facing the rest of the store to be covered or used to display non-alcohol products.
Melody's lawyer Iain Thain has argued that could lead to "cross-merchandising", which was something the law intended to avoid.
Dannevirke New World owner Garry Hassler said Weir had made an appeal for similar conditions on his supermarket's license, despite it being renewed nearly two years ago.
The regulatory and licensing authority will hold a hearing on the matter in Wellington later in April..