Kibosh put on bar door trial
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Police are frustrated that a one-way door policy to be trialled by two Blenheim bars may not go ahead.
Marlborough area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said police were disappointed the Hospitality Association in Marlborough had stepped in to prevent licensees from co-operating with the trial.
But Hospitality New Zealand regional manager Jeanette Swift said licensees wanted to retain their rights to close at 3am if they chose to.
Fairweathers Bar on Scott St and The Loft on Kinross St had voluntarily agreed to take part in the trial, which was set to begin this month.
It was now unclear if the trial would go ahead after a Hospitality Association meeting in Blenheim earlier this month.
Police were disappointed the association was trying to undermine the trial, Mr Feltham said.
"It's frustrating because of the big benefits to the community the policy would have," he said.
Alcohol-related offending and harm was occurring in Blenheim on Friday and Saturday nights between 1am and 4am. There was ample evidence a one-way door policy would help reduce that offending, he said.
"This initiative offered licence holders an opportunity to show their commitment to improving community safety."
It was also an opportunity to see what impact the policy would have on their business, he said.
Hospitality New Zealand regional manager Jeanette Swift said licensees could not come to a unanimous decision about whether to implement the one-way door policy.
About 10 Marlborough licence holders who traded past 1am were at the meeting, she said.
The association acted as an advocate for members and facilitated meetings.
Some of the bars and restaurants who had a licence to trade until 3am did not have door staff. The one-way door policy was not possible without door staff, Ms Swift said.
"Implementing the policy would put an unnecessary and financial burden on licensees," she said.
There was no evidence that one-way door policies reduced alcohol-related harm. Australia had adopted a "lockdown" policy which had increased alcohol-related harm and offending, she said.
The decision on whether to introduce the policy in Marlborough was split. "Not all of them could agree on a one-way door policy," she said.
She said the association was happy to talk to police about other solutions, but licencees wanted to retain their rights.
Fairweathers Bar owner Warren Croft said he was still keen to trial the policy, but he wanted other bars to get on board first.
"We need to get everyone doing the same thing or nothing will be achieved," he said.
"It will be financially unfair on those of us who are doing it."
A meeting needed to be held with licensees and police so the issue could be discussed, he said.
The Loft owner Gary Smith said he was happy to try the one-way door policy but only if the majority of other licensees did it too.
"If we do it, we'll have to tell people they can't come in after 1am and they'll go straight to Kokomo's," he said.
Mr Feltham said police did not have the power to enforce the one-way door policy but were working alongside the Marlborough District Council to create a draft local alcohol policy.
The local alcohol policy allowed councils to enforce their own policy from December 18. Changes to the policy could be made under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
- The Marlborough Express