Council to curb alcohol sales after 9pm?

KRIS DANDO
Last updated 10:32 06/05/2014

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Porirua residents won't be able to buy alcohol at off-licenses after 9pm, should a draft local alcohol policy for the city get passed.

Porirua City councillors discussed the policy at Te Komiti on April 24. There was rancour during a presentation from Regional Public Health, with representatives pointing to statistics about alcohol harm in New Zealand communities and talking about admissions to hospital emergency departments.

"I feel like I'm being lectured to here. It would be more beneficial if you were commenting on our alcohol policy," mayor Nick Leggett said. "Porirua is held up as this place where bad things happen, but what we're experiencing with alcohol is happening everywhere."

Councillor Ken Douglas said he objected to the assumption that Porirua was strictly a low socio- economic area and that an alcohol policy should reflect that.

"A significant amount of domestic violence, often down to alcohol, is in the high and middle-income bracket, but that is brushed over."

Porirua City Council began developing a policy last year and that will soon go out for public comment.

Key elements include:

Alcohol not being sold after 9pm at off-licensed premises, which include dairies. Supermarkets, however, will be able to sell booze until 11pm.

Bars, pubs and clubs' hours to sell alcohol will be restricted till 1am.

All bottlestores must limit product advertising to 50 per cent of the total shop front area.

One-way door procedures, good lighting, CCTV cameras and other rules for bars and clubs.

Councillors Tim Sheppard, John Burke and Litea Ah Hoi excused themselves from the debate because of their membership of Porirua Community Trust.

Leggett said it was important to get a well-balanced document and community feedback.

"We have different villages in Porirua and what is fit for one [regarding an alcohol policy] is not for another," he said.

"Most people drink moderately ... but it's important we find that balance."

The period for public comment is likely to be from May 26 till June 27. After the gathering of public submissions, and hearings in July, the local alcohol policy will likely be finalised in October. Regional Public Health and the police could appeal against elements of the policy.

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