Booze policy concerns

Southern hospitality members today questioned if a local alcohol policy was unfairly targeting licensees who already follow strict guidelines.

At a Hospitality New Zealand industry breakfast in Invercargill this morning, members questioned the fairness of the policy. 

Paddington Arms owner Graham Hawkes said the hospitality industry and licensees were being held responsible for issues related to alcohol when in reality the large percentage of problems occurred outside of licensed premises.  

About 76 per cent of alcohol purchasing was outside licensed premises but it was still licencees bearing the brunt of legislative changes, Mr Hawkes said. 

Speakers at the breakfast included Hospitality New Zealand deputy chief executive Sara Tucker, Invercargill City and Southland District Council environmental health managers John Youngson and Michael Sarfaiti and Southland area manager prevention Inspector Olaf Jensen.

Ms Tucker highlighted some of the challenges surrounding the new policies including renewing or obtaining a licence, the ''notorious three strike policy'', new fees and confusion around promotions.

Mr Youngson and Mr Sarfaiti told the crowd community feedback the policy was jointly supported by the Invercargill City Council, Southland and Gore District councils.

The policy only gave local authorities limited powers but it aimed to make licensed premises safe drinking environments and encourage punters through the doors. 

Mr Jensen said police had been involved with drawing up the draft policy and backed any moves to reduce alcohol induced harm and crime in the region.

A proposed one-way-door policy, which would restrict access to bars after 1am, was welcomed by police, he said. 

The meeting, attended by pub, club, and restaurant owners, was to develop and promote closer working relationships between the councils, police and licensees ahead of the release of the district-wide draft Local Alcohol Policy.


The Southland Times