Retailers unhappy with new liquor sales hours

Last updated 05:00 29/08/2014

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Some Stratford liquor retailers say proposed changes to alcohol trading hours would adversely impact their businesses.

At a hearing held in the town yesterday, Five Star Liquor employees Andrea Wellington and Jason Cox said the proposed change to the draft local alcohol policy which could see off-licence premises only allowed to open from 10am-9pm Monday to Sunday would have a definite effect on them.

At the current time, the Fenton St store opens at 9am most days and shuts at 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Having worked there for 10 years, Cox said the current hours worked well.

Any change would be inconvenient to customers, which included people living in rural locations as well as shift workers, and could impact on the employment of part time staff too, he said.

Wellington, who has 25 years experience in the hospitality industry, said a change in trading hours would not reduce alcohol related harm in the community.

"It won't change their drinking habits, it will change their purchasing habits," she said.

She said the draft policy was also too broad in its scope.

The draft local alcohol policy has been jointly developed by the Stratford and New Plymouth councils and will apply across both districts.

Another against any change in trading hours was Four Square Stratford owner-operator John Sandford. Sandford is also a Stratford district councillor.

At the current time his store opens from 6am to 9pm and beer and wine is sold from the premises from 7am.

He said he sometimes had shift workers wanting to buy alcohol that early in the morning to be consumed later that night.

He said any change would have an financial impact, as the customers who purchased alcohol also bought food and other items.

A final meeting will be held in New Plymouth on September 2 to decide the policy.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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