Glasses down by 4am at NYE party

Last updated 13:11 04/12/2013

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The New Year party won't wind up in Wellington at 4am on January 1, but the drinking part probably will.

New default laws come into effect on December 18, meaning bars throughout the country will not be allowed to stay open beyond 4am unless they apply for one-off licences.

By today only Four Kings, on the corner of Dixon and Taranaki streets, had applied to stay open beyond 4am, Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said.

Wellington district police spokesman Nick Bohm said that application, and any other one to stay open beyond 4am, was being opposed.

Later opening did not reduce alcohol-related harm, he said.

Four Kings director Matt McLaughlin said the late licence was meant to be a ''last hurrah'' before the bar closed down for about four months for earthquake strengthening.

That would likely start in early January, with the rest of the building already emptied for the work, which had already started in higher floors.

Once police had objected, the final decision to grant a licence was essentially a ''no-go'' and he did not plan to appeal that.

Mr MacLean said there were still a couple of days for bars to apply to stay open longer than 4am for New Year's Eve. The council would prioritise processing them to get them through in time.

At the moment about 30 bars in Wellington are licensed to stay open past 4am.

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- The Dominion Post


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