Supermarkets have yet to respond

Supermarket chains have yet to respond to a draft alcohol policy that, if adopted, will restrict the hours they can sell alcohol in Marlborough.

The Marlborough District Council draft Liquor Licensing Policy went out for public comment on Thursday.

The policy proposes reducing off-licence alcohol sales to hours between 7am and 9pm.

Similar draft policies in other regions throughout New Zealand have attracted submissions from supermarket and liquor store chains.

However Foodstuffs - which owns Pak ‘n Save, New World, Four Square and Liquorland - and Progressive Enterprises - which owns Countdown, Fresh Choice and SuperValue - both said last week it was too early to know whether they would be making a written submission on the draft policy.

A Foodstuffs spokeswoman said they had not yet had a chance to review the policy draft.

"We will, of course, be reviewing it and making a decision on whether we will be providing a written submission [on the policy] in due course," she said.

Marlborough has four Foodstuffs supermarkets as well as a Liquorland outlet.

A spokeswoman for Progressive Enterprises said the organisation had not had an opportunity to review the draft policy, but would be making a formal submission on the draft.

The organisation supported the Sale & Supply of Alcohol Act and its aim to minimise alcohol-related harm and would be "more than happy" to provide the council with information about beer and wine purchasing patterns in their Marlborough stores, to help them with their decision, she said. Progressive Enterprises has five supermarkets in Marlborough.

Meanwhile, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is set to wade into the issue after it was revealed last week that a supermarket chain was trying to influence councils' alcohol policies.

Local Government NZ president Lawrence Yule confirmed the pressure small councils were facing from "big commercial entities" over their alcohol policies was on the agenda.

"We are going to see whether we can do something about it."

Local Government NZ was "pretty grumpy" with the supermarkets and bottle stores operators over their approach to the policies, as it defeated the purpose of the law.

Local Government NZ has been involved in providing training and information to councils on the policies.

The Marlborough Express