Booze policy appeals likely

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 14:15 06/03/2014

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The Marlborough District Council is bracing itself for appeals as its draft local alcohol policy opens for public submissions today.

Marlborough's draft Liquor Licensing Policy proposed restricting the sale of alcohol at supermarkets and liquor stores to hours between 7am and 9pm daily.

Appeals had already been lodged against other councils in New Zealand, who had proposed similar changes, by both supermarket and liquor store chains.

Councillor John Leggett, who chairs the district licensing committee, said the threat of a fight from the off-licence companies was not enough to disrupt their process.

"We need to hear back from the public anyway . . . the idea of the change in the liquor licence law is to aim to reduce the alcohol-related harm . . . and that's what we are going to do," he said.

Appeals made by supermarket chains Foodstuffs and Progressive enterprises to other councils, including Waimakariri, Selwyn and Tasman, had warned the Marlborough committee about what they could expect.

"The appeals [to other councils] about [their plans] have only just been lodged but we know the grounds that the supermarkets are going to be arguing on," he said.

"Sometimes you have got to be prepared to stand up . . . we will deal with [appeals] when it comes to it."

Foodstuffs claimed the Waimakariri District Council draft plan, to restrict off-licence alcohol sales to hours between 8am and 10pm, was "oppressive, excessive and unreasonable" in its notice of appeal.

The company owned Pak 'n Save, New World and Four Square, while Progressive Enterprises owned Countdown, Fresh Choice and Supervalue.

Marlborough's draft plan also proposed imposing a 2am closing time on bars and pubs, which was an hour earlier than the existing policy.

Mr Leggett expected a mixture of positive and negative feedback, including from people in the Marlborough hospitality industry, after "quite a few" attended meetings about the policy.

 

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- The Marlborough Express

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