A decided reluctance on the part of Kaikoura District Councillors to reduce alcohol trading hours was shown in the revised local alcohol policy tabled at last week's council meeting.
After baulking last month at the conservative hours proposed in the draft policy, councillors held a workshop to review the draft and changed the hours back to almost what they are now.
Environmental health officer David Shovel had recommended, for example, that hotels and taverns should close at 1am, standalone off-licences at 10pm and those in hotels or taverns at 11pm.
Club hours would be 6.30pm to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and midday to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Last week however, councillors approved the following maximum hours:
Licensed restaurants and cafes Monday to Sunday 7am to midnight (no change)
On-licensed taverns and hotels Monday to Sunday 7am to 2am (draft: 7am to 1am)
Mini-bars in hotel bedrooms Monday to Sunday 24 hours (no change)
All off-licences 9am to 10pm (draft: standalone 8am to 10pm and in hotels or taverns 8am to 11pm)
Clubs Sunday to Thursday 8am to 10pm, Friday, Saturday and public holidays noon to midnight (draft: 6.30pm to 10pm and noon to midnight).
Although the policy which will go out for public submissions is more liberal than the original draft, it does claw back closing time by one hour in most cases, compared with the present practice.
However, Councillor John Diver was still not happy with the off-licence hours.
He wanted to make it easier first for people to collect liquor for functions by having off-licences open at 8am, and to close at 11pm thereby enabling more to be bought should supplies run low.
Councillor John Macphail said while he followed that reasoning, he did not agree with it.
Mr Shovel said if there was no cash transaction, product previously ordered could be collected at any time.
Mr Diver said extending the hours of off-licences did not mean any more alcohol would be sold.
"It's purely a matter of convenience".
Pro-forma his amendment was seconded by Councillor David Holmes.
Councillor Neil Pablecheque, chairing the meeting in the absence of the mayor, said the council should be trying to send a message that it wanted to reduce alcohol-related harm in the district.
"We discussed this at the workshop and this is what we came up with," he said.
The amendment was lost.
The policy is now open for public submissions until August 16.
A public hearing will follow if submissions are received.
- © Fairfax NZ News