Applicants defend liquor store bid

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 13:00 19/12/2013
liquor store
NEW BOOZE SHOP: The site of the proposed new liquor store at 561 Main Road Stoke, next to the Mobil station.
Chirag Tailor
NEW START: Chirag Tailor aims to go into the liquor business.

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Dairy owner Chirag Tailor, who was criticised for selling legal highs in Nelson, is under fire from Nelson MP Nick Smith for trying to open a liquor store in Nelson.

Chirag Tailor's brother and spokesman Mayur Tailor said they were at a loss as to why they were being targeted.

"I don't want to offend anyone," said Mayur Tailor.

"His [Dr Smith's] concern is for the community and I can understand that. We are willing to work in whatever is suitable for the community, we can work accordingly."

Dr Smith is lodging an objection against Chirag Tailor's application for a liquor licence under his company, Manila Holdings Ltd to open Payless Liquor Store at Shop 4, 561 Main Road Stoke on November 27. There has previously been a liquor store at 575 Main Road Stoke.

Dr Smith said he did not want to see Payless Liquor Store granted a licence because he did not think Stoke needed another liquor outlet. He had been alerted by concerned residents after the liquor licence request appeared in a public notice as is required by law.

"My objection could be made equally if someone else proposed another liquor store, but that concern is exasperated when the name of the firm is ‘Payless Alcohol'. That indicates it is targeting volume cheap alcohol for which we know the problems are worse, that is further compounded by the history of the proprietor in selling synthetic drugs," he said.

Dr Smith accepted that Chirag Tailor had not acted illegally when selling legal highs, but said "in my view there is a line between what is lawful and what is ethical".

"If this was a boutique seller of specialised wine I might have a different attitude, but it's not, it's aimed at supplying large volumes of cheap grog," Dr Smith said.

Mayur Tailor said they were willing to change the name or make the wording for "payless" smaller.

His brother had chosen "Payless" to give the store a competitive name against other stores or dairies, which use similar names. "It has nothing to do with whether I am going to sell cheap liquor."

Mr Tailor said his brother had worked in a store in Christchurch, which sold alcohol and "it appealed because there were less hours" and he wanted experience in selling liquor so he could achieve his target of having a supermarket in the future.

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"We are not imposing our personal choice on others that this is good or bad.

"This is a democracy, this is people's choice. Who am I to decide that thing? My personal choice and beliefs are mine and they have nothing to do with the public," he said.

Mr Tailor said he and his brother were doing nothing wrong or different from other outlets. He said he did not drink alcohol or smoke or eat meat for moral reasons, but he still sold them. He said he and his brother did not think they were doing anything new in the community as alcohol was already being sold and they were "just opening another store".

If the community had issues with the proposed store he was happy to try to resolve them and was willing to meet Dr Smith.

He said they were no longer selling legal highs and had no interest in selling them in the future.

"It is not different from any other place where liquor is available and we don't want to sell, even though they are permitted those legal highs or anything or any other dangerous product which is going to be available in the market in the future," said Mr Tailor.

Mr Tailor's brother moved to Nelson with his wife following the Christchurch earthquakes. Mr Tailor said they hoped to stay here and open a number of businesses.

The council has received four objections to the liquor licence application for Payless Liquor so there will be a hearing before the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority. Objections to the district licensing agency can be made until January 31.

- The Nelson Mail

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