Wellington City Council lays down the law to police over Courtenay Place bars

Wellington City Council has made it clear that alcohol will be availible in its Courtenay Place party zone until 4am, as ...
NZ POLICE

Wellington City Council has made it clear that alcohol will be availible in its Courtenay Place party zone until 4am, as police push for tighter trading hours.

Wellington City Council has given a stern warning to police about their attempts to change bar hours, reminding them that 4am closing means just that.

Councillors made the public declaration on Wednesday,  against a backdrop of rising tensions between the police and bar owners in the Courtenay Place party zone.

Wellington adheres to the national "default" trading hours for on-licence premises set by the Government, which allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol until 4am.

A police officer keeps a watchful eye on bar-hoppers along Wellington's Courtenay Place.
NZ POLICE

A police officer keeps a watchful eye on bar-hoppers along Wellington's Courtenay Place.

But some bars owners believe the police are trying to set new rules by opposing CBD liquor licences unless bars agree to more restricted trading hours.

READ MORE:
* Capital bar owners 'terrified' of police and a one-way door policy
Courtenay Place bar owners accuse police of 'forcing' booze law change
Police push for Sydney-style lockout for Wellington's downtown party zone
Authority rejects capital's 5am liquor-sale hours

Councillor Paul Eagle, who chairs the community, sport and recreation committee, said there was a feeling the District Licensing Committee was being "pressured" by police and health officials, who were not "acting in the spirit" of the laws as they were currently written.

Police and the Hospitality industry are at odds over whether reduced drinking hours for bars on Wellington's Courtenay ...
FAIRFAX NZ

Police and the Hospitality industry are at odds over whether reduced drinking hours for bars on Wellington's Courtenay Place would reduce alcohol-related harm.

"We needed to send a signal to all of our stakeholders that this is our policy," he said.

The council has left the door open to revisiting drinking hours later in the year, after it has collected more data on alcohol harm.

But the decision to wait has disappointed police.

Wellington Police Area Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann says the city council needs to act now to reduce alcohol harm ...
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Police Area Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann says the city council needs to act now to reduce alcohol harm in the central city.

Wellington area commander Inspector Chris Bensemann said there was little point in the council "sitting on its hands",  as it was plain to see there was a problem with drunk and disorderly people in Courtenay Place in the early hours.

Ad Feedback

"There needs to be an acceptance that there is alcohol harm in our community," he said. "We have to move forward with this, and we have to be courageous. If we just throw our hands up in the air and say it's too hard, that would be sad."

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown asked Bensemann to back up his claim with statistics, saying the council preferred to base its decisions on good data.

Wellington City councillor Paul Eagle says it is prudent to wait for more data to know whether Courtenay Place trading ...
MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington City councillor Paul Eagle says it is prudent to wait for more data to know whether Courtenay Place trading hours are contributing towards alcohol harm before the council acts.

But Bensemann said statistics tended to be overanalysed. His officers were on the ground in Courtenay Place, and did not need stats to tell them that too many people were getting drunk and "looking for trouble".

"Believe me, it is real," he said. "Alcohol harm in Courtenay Place is real. I regularly experience it, and my staff experience it, every weekend."

Wade-Brown replied that the council preferred to base its decisions on solid data.

NEW POLICY POSSIBLE

The council tried to introduce a Local Alcohol Policy in 2013 that would have allowed 5am closing for CBD bars. But the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority rejected the plan in 2015 after police and health officials opposed it.

Councillors were told on Wednesday that a report on alcohol harm would be completed in November, at which point a discussion could be had about whether a new Local Alcohol Policy was needed.

Robert Brewer, chief executive of Spirits New Zealand, said the default hours of 4am were working well.

Research showed Kiwis were drinking less pure alcohol these days, suggesting talk of a booze problem in central Wellington was overblown.

Hospitality Association Wellington branch president Jeremy Smith pointed to statistics that showed Wellington Hospital ED admissions "dropped off significantly" after 3am.

Councillor Jo Coughlan, who is in charge of economic development, agreed it was the council's role to determine trading hours, and those decisions should be based on solid data that showed whether current hours were a problem.

Wellington's "late-night economy" was a significant contributor to the city's coffers, and the council needed to make sure it thrived, she said.

The council agreed on Wednesday to renew an initiative of hosting regular quarterly meetings between the police and hospitality stakeholders to discuss how best to tackle alcohol issues.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

'All four engines have failed'

The Boeing 747, called "The City of Edinburgh", the day after its terrifying flight.

A jumbo jet carrying Kiwis plunges from the sky in the pitch black near Indonesia.

A day in the life of Westside actor Shane Cortese

Shane Cortese, aged 17, second from left, in his room at the Majestic Hotel, with friends Shane Christensen, left, ...

Each week, we ask a famous Kiwi to share a photo memory.

Trapped and injured after crash

The fire service are working to extricate a person trapped in their car after a crash in west Auckland.

A person is trapped with serious injuries after an Auckland car crash.

Auckland's combustible buildings video

Auckland Council's general manager of building control, Ian McCormick, said staff have manually checked for buildings ...

Anger among residents of Auckland apartment high-rise identified as having Grenfell Tower combustible cladding.

Wellington

Bars to share info on patrons

0307 2005 NEWS.
Party goers queue to get into the nightspots in Courtenay Place after the All Blacks vs Irish and ...

Go Pro footage and bouncer intel will be used to get Wellington's bar-goers to behave.

Barred from rest home

A Hastings woman has been trespassed from her mother's rest home. (file photo)

Woman says she's been deprived of time with her mum, which she can never get back.

Garner: It was Winston's week

There's only winner this week – the smiling travelling salesman, Winston Peters, writes Duncan Garner.

OPINION: NZ First leader beaming as National and Labour have weeks they'd rather forget.

Hammer attack in Hawke's Bay

Despite taking hit after hit from a robber's hammer, a scrap metal yard employee prevented the offender from getting a cent.

Scrap yard employee left bloody and bruised but sent thief packing, empty-handed.

Canterbury

Movie creates Pecking Order video

Brian Glassey, Pecking Order star and national show competitor, with one of the roosters he's entering in the National ...

Visitors to premiere poultry show in Chch more interested in film stars than feathered entrants.

School shorts 'too cold'

School, generic, uniform, schoolbag, bag, books,

Mum pulls sons from school after it refused to provide warmer clothing options as part of its winter uniform.

Steve Gurney in cycle crash

Steve Gurney posted on social media from his hospital bed after the crash in Queenstown.

Kiwi multisport great Steve Gurney breaks five ribs crashing into a post on a cycle trail.

Accused of Ponzi fraud

Christchurch manager of WorldClaim NZ Guy Sayers has been ordered to surrender his passport.

Quake advocate Guy Sayers allegedly pushed WorldClaim clients to invest in a Ponzi scheme.

Waikato

Rural docs' passion confirmed video

Australian GP registrar Justin Gladman joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service in early 2017. He is a graduate of ...

Training doctors away from tertiary hospitals is helping boost rural GP numbers across the ditch.

Foreign 'brain drain'

Flinders University professor of paediatrics and child health Kevin Forsyth says New Zealand needs to do more to curb ...

New Zealand prides itself on playing fair. But its use of overseas doctors is causing angst offshore.

Kiwi students back Aussie model

Mekha John is a third year medical student at Flinders University in South Australia.

Kiwi med students say an Australian model of training would work well in New Zealand.

Razor-laced balls at dog park

Heather Gowans often throws a tennis ball for her dog at Day's Park and is horrified Peppa could have bitten into one of ...

Tennis balls containing razor blades have been found in popular Hamilton dog park.

Taranaki

Word to your mother

21062017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.   Brittany Bourgoise runs her own nail technician business from home.  Kids ...

Brittany Bourgoise is a mumpreneur and reckons other mothers can become one too.

Activist joins council

Environmental activist Emily Bailey has been appointed as an iwi representative to the regional council policy and ...

Former Urewera raids activist looking forward to being part of making decisions on regional council

Marae dream over

The initial design of the Ngamotu Marae, which was to be located on Ocean View Pde site, was to cost $4.5 million and ...

Theft linked to scrapping of $4.5 million New Plymouth marae proposal.

A man and his kereru

Kereru like to flock but are usually only seen in ones and twos.

OPINION: Sometimes you get what you want and it just isn't enough.

Manawatu

No more limits

Cameron Holland, 20, had a brain injury after a car crash when he was 11.

A double blow robbed him of his father and gave him a serious brain injury.

Twisted web of lies

Nakita Sue will serve six months' home detention.

Woman stole man's life savings with sob stories and threats to post nude pics.

House fire shocks resident

Fire risk management officer Andrew Cotter examines a kitchen after a house fire.

Seeing flames tear through his home was the last thing a man from Bulls expected.

Kiwi seriously injured in London

Manawatu man Joel Perry is recovering in hospital after an assault and mugging while on his way home in London.

A vicious attack on a New Zealand tourist has left him in hospital and struggling to get home.

Nelson

Doughnuts selling like hot cakes

Josiah Smits of the Smoking Barrel Cafe and Restaurant with some of his famous donuts at his High St, Motueka business.

A Motueka cafe is struggling to meet demand for its syringe-injected gourmet doughnuts.

Retirees for Richmond

Andrew Spittal says the aim is to develop about 550 to 650 sections on the site.

A $130m retirement village is tipped as part of a proposed $350m development in Richmond, near Nelson.

Greens target Nelson

Nick Smith has held the Nelson seat for 21 years.

The Green Party is campaigning to break Nick Smith's 21-year grip on Nelson.

Meet the Kiwi helping Oracle

Boat Build Manager Tim Smyth with the saw blade used by the giant CNC Milling machine  used on America's Cup yacht Oracle.

If Oracle turn it round to beat Team NZ, it will be thanks in part to a boat builder from Nelson.

Marlborough

Warehouse dumps faulty sheets

Packs of flannelette sheets slashed and dumped in a skip outside The Warehouse Blenheim.

Well, it's not like there's a charity called Sheets 'n Things right beside them. Oh wait ...

Landlords want change

Tasha and Jamie McCracken want landlords to have more rights to evict tenants if a positive meth test suggests they are ...

Meth damage no different to "someone picking up a sledge hammer, walking onto your property and swinging it around".

Falcons face Timaru

MBC First IV rugby team the Falcons.

The Marlborough Boys' College First XV take on Timaru Boys' High at noon today.

Dancing in Vanuatu

Blenheim Momentum Dance Company owner Jessica Foley-Taylor, at rear, is going to Vanuatu on a dance charity mission. ...

Dance teacher swaps studio for Pacific Island village as she heads off on dance mission.

South Canterbury

Marking Matariki in Waimate video

Waimate Main School kapa haka group members are, from left, Summer Pay, 8, Maddison Longman, 8, and Ashley Guy, 7.

Attendee numbers have grown, and performances have improved, since Matariki celebrations began in Waimate six years ago.

RSA restructure looms

South Canterbury Returned and Services' Association president Greg O'Brien.

Restructure looms as South Canterbury RSA tries to improve its financial situation.

Clone sought for vet practice video

Stepping back after 40 years at the Veterinary Centre Waimate is vet Dougall McLachlan.

Dougall McLachlan's colleagues want his last pair of work gumboots to last a very long time.

$1.1m for new lights

Netcon chief executive Steve McCoy with an LED light of the type his company has already installed in Temuka. The Timaru ...

Work to replace Timaru's street lights can start next month thanks to boost.

Southland

Young performers face the music

Monique Clementson (Deloris), Annie Sherborne, and Rachael Scott (Sister Mary Patrick) at rehearsals for the ...

Young performers are gaining exposure and touring the country for Sister Act the musical.

Arrested after threats

08072016 Newsphoto. SIMON MAUDE / FAIRFAX NZ. Generic, stock, NZ Police, police car, The po po, police. 08-N-policeC

A 54-year-old man was arrested after threatening Work and Income staff.

Father 'evil', grief-stricken mum says

Police staff at the Riverton home where three-month-old Honour Ashworth was injured.

Grieving Southland mother says her soul was "ripped to pieces" when she found out her partner caused her infant son's death.

Green Party takes off

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand Invercargill candidate Rochelle Surendran speaks at a Green Party Launch in Invercargill.

Green Party co-leader comments on Clutha-Southland MP resignation during Invercargill visit.

Ad Feedback