Bar owner Bertie defiant about street party

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014
Bertie Burleigh stand
ANDY JACKSON
Bertie Burleigh

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Disgruntled bar owner Bertie Burleigh wants to push ahead with his controversial Magog street party.

The New Plymouth publican was this week denied a liquor licence for next month's party-cum-rock-concert to celebrate the motorcycle club's 40th anniversary, despite hosting close to 20 similar events previously.

However, in December the district council voted 10-4 to allow Peggy Gordon's bar to close Egmont St from 4pm on March 1 to 4am the following morning.

But yesterday he appeared to thumb his nose at the decision of the newly-formed District Licensing Committee which on Tuesday refused his application to serve alcohol at the street party.

He said the show could go on if tickets to the concert sold out by next Wednesday, and if people wanted a drink he would make sure they could get one.

"People need to vote with their feet, or their wallets, and show that they want this party and we'll make it happen," he said.

The party plans are for a stage to be set up in a fenced area on the street so bands Devilskin, Sticky Filth, The Nod, Bullfrog Rata and Shayn Wills can play.

Mr Burleigh had hoped the 1200 people potentially attending would be able to drink at the concert but instead he will be restricted to selling alcohol at his pub, Peggy Gordon's, which will be outside the fence.

And Mr Burleigh was considering appealing the DLC's decision to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

He and Magog president Russell "Shagger" Gilmer were also concerned about the implications of the decision for future street parties and events in Taranaki.

The DLC declined the application because it was worried drunk concert-goers would spill out onto the streets of the CBD and cause trouble.

But Mr Burleigh questioned whether events such as Womad and rugby games at Yarrow Stadium would also be subject to the same rules.

"It can't be one rule for us and another for them. They've set a precedent, they must apply it across the board."

Mr Gilmer said he was aware that the DLC only had to hold a hearing for licence applications if objections were raised.

"There's nothing to stop me objecting to every event. It doesn't cost me a cent."

Which could mean trouble for other major sporting and cultural events around the country.

Mr Gilmer said the level of bureaucratic interference impinged on people's freedom of choice.

"They're not giving people the chance to go and be socially responsible themselves and just have a drink and a good time."

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The $47.50 tickets have been on sale through Ticketmaster and at Vinyl Countdown and Peggy Gordons since December.

Before the application hearing last week only 30 tickets had been sold, but Mr Burleigh said he expected people had been waiting to see if the event would go ahead and he was hopeful of selling about 1200 tickets.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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