Booze ID stance frustrates 34-year-old customer

Temporary licence has no photo

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Thirty-four-year-old Tawny Wagstaff didn’t have the right ID to buy a box of beer in New Plymouth last week.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
OLD ENOUGH: Thirty-four-year-old Tawny Wagstaff didn’t have the right ID to buy a box of beer in New Plymouth last week.
Sunny Narran
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
YOUNG AT HEART: Sunny Narran, 47, was refused service in Christchurch last week when he tried to buy beer because he was mistaken for a teenager.

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A 34-year-old man is upset he was refused booze at a supermarket because his official NZ Transport Agency temporary driver's licence was not acceptable identification.

Tawny Wagstaff, 34, went to Countdown in the Waiwhakaiho Valley and loaded a dozen of beer on to the conveyor belt at the checkout, but got no further when staff found his ID lacking.

Mr Wagstaff's photo driver's licence had expired and had been taken from him when he went to renew it.

In its place he was given a standard paper temporary licence, which has no photo on it.

"Why do they give you a licence with no photo on it? What am I meant to do, not have a drink for three weeks? That's a bit rough," he said.

He also had a host of other cards identifying him as being of age to buy alcohol, including a photo student ID and credit cards.

"I have got a passport but I don't carry it around the country with me. What do you do if you don't have a passport?"

A Countdown spokesperson said the only forms of ID they accept are a New Zealand driver's licence with a photo, Hanz 18+ card, and passport.

"We appreciate that in this instance it would seem unusual to refuse alcohol to someone who is 34 years of age, however we do rely heavily on our staff having to make a judgment on the day, and the consequences of them getting it wrong are extremely serious.

"When asked for ID, unfortunately the customer wasn't able to supply any of the above accepted forms of identification.

"We appreciate his frustration, however hopefully he can understand the systems we have in place to prevent the sale of liquor to minors."

Mr Wagstaff lives in Wellington where he is a student, but travels to Taranaki and other places frequently to work as a stonemason.

"A lot of people do think I'm young, but I've always had my driver's licence so it hasn't been a problem."

In the end his girlfriend bought the beer elsewhere, but he said supermarket staff there checked her ID as well.

Last week in Christchurch, 47-year-old Sunny Narran, a balding, moustachioed contractor with four grown sons,was refused service because he looked under 25 and had no ID.

Mr Narran was left feeling "ashamed" and "embarrassed" by the incident and was later apologised to by the supermarket.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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