New liquor regime taking effect

16:00, Dec 16 2013

A new system for considering liquor licences starts tomorrow as the New Plymouth District Licensing Committee begins work.

The committee will consider, grant or renew any on-licences, off-licences, club licences, special licences, temporary permits and manager certificates.

The new committee would have more powers than the former district licensing agency did for considering the effect of a liquor activity - such as graffiti, noise and anti-social behaviour - when considering applications, New Plymouth District Council customer and regulatory services manager Mary-Anne Priest said.

"There are also new application forms and new fees and charges, and we have that information on our council website.

"If anyone is unsure about the new process, they're welcome to give us a call at the council and ask any questions they have," she said.

The council received about 20 applications a week, but most of them were renewals, Ms Priest said.


Graham Wells, who went to court in July 2011 to prevent a cut-price bottle store opening near his business in the Sunley St industrial area in New Plymouth, said the DLC was a step in the right direction.

The new committee was introduced to allow the community to have more say in the granting of liquor licences, he said.

The DLC will be made up of chairman and former deputy mayor Alex Matheson, and two members taken from a pool of deputy chairman Craig McFarlane Glenn West, Peter Coles, Channa Perry, Paul Walden, Peter Stringer, John Rowe, Barrie Smith and Lynn Bublitz.

If the applications are unopposed Mr Matheson will be able to make a decision based on the information given by the police, Ministry of Health and the council.

The committees are among the amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, which came into effect this week and are aimed at minimising the harm caused by excessive drinking, and improving New Zealand's drinking culture.

Key features of the changes in the regulations include allowing local-level decision-making for all licence applications and providing broader grounds for public objections.

Taranaki Daily News