Options under alcohol law

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 15:15 11/02/2013

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Changes to legislation governing the sale of alcohol will give the Marlborough community more say on how alcohol is managed, says Marlborough District Council licensing inspector Karen Winter.

Mrs Winter told the council's environment committee that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 gave statutory recognition to alcohol policy set in the district, which was not the case with legislation it replaced.

This change would make it easier to enforce compliance.

A new district licensing committee could stipulate the number and location of licensed premises, days and hours of trading and a one-way-door rule which would prevent people from re-entering a place serving alcohol once they had left, after a certain time.

The committee might, for example, decide it was inappropriate for a hotel to be located near a school or church, she said.

The act was intended to ensure safe and responsible sale, supply and consumption of alcohol and minimisation of the harm caused by excessive or inappropriate use, Mrs Winter said.

Harm included crime, damage, death, disease, disorderly behaviour, illness, or injury to the community or society, not covered by current legislation.

Two community members plus a councillor would make up the new committee, which replaced the district licensing agency of three elected councillors, she said.

Committee chairman Peter Jerram said it might be hard to find people to sit on the committee, familiar with the alcohol industry but with no vested interest.

"We'll end up with church groups and kennel clubs," he said.

Community representation might work in bigger areas with elected community boards but could be difficult in Marlborough, Mr Jerram said.

Mrs Winter said it was unclear whether committee members would be paid.

Iwi representative Raymond Smith said he hoped the new committee would standardise the 1am closing time in Picton and 3am closing in Blenheim.

The difference encouraged young people to drive between the two towns after drinking. It also gave a commercial advantage to Blenheim businesses, Mr Smith said.

Mayor Alistair Sowman quipped that 6pm closing might do away with a lot of the issues raised.

The committee voted to support Mrs Winter's recommendation that a subcommittee be established to recommend changes, on time for full council approval by December 12.

This would be after independent consultation with the police, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, ACC and other interested groups and individuals, she said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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