Easter bar licence bids fail the test
A Queenstown Lakes District Licensing committee has declined special licence applications to all bars and pubs in Wanaka who applied to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
At a committee hearing held in Wanaka yesterday and in Queenstown on Monday, committee chairman Bill Unwin declined applications from Barluga, Woody's Pool Bar, Lalaland, Kai Whaka Pai, the Bullock Bar, Speights Ale House, Gin and Rasberry and the Luggate Hotel, to serve alcohol to customers without the requirement to serve food.
To qualify the businesses needed to prove events were not 'business as usual' when applying after changes were made to special licences when the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 came into effect in December.
All applications were initially opposed by the police and the Health Ministry who said events being held at Wanaka establishments during Easter were "contrived events".
Several businesses applied to celebrate birthday celebrations while others wanted to hold ticketed music events throughout the weekend or show historic footage of Warbirds over Wanaka.
However, it was found hosting music events and the birthday celebrations did not offer enough difference to "business as usual".
Kai Whaka Pai owner Roger North said he was not surprised about the outcome but was disappointed.
"We tried very hard," North said.
Easter weekend was considered the last busy weekend before a two- month down period and "if you can make money in the busy season, you can look after staff in the quiet season", he said.
He said he would unlikely apply for the special licence again because of the "onus process" for such a small item.
While some of the businesses could still open to serve food with drinks, it was understood police could ask for meal receipts from patrons and if they believed an extended period of time since the meal was consumed, they would ask people to leave a premise.
Unwin did however approved a special licence for a "Prohibition Party" to be held at Lalaland between 12am and 3.30am on Easter Monday for Wanaka hospitality staff. The licence involved an hour extension to the normal closing hour at the business of 2.30am.
The Southland Times