Priority for tough new alcohol rules

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013
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Tougher rules on where and when alcohol can be sold in Christchurch could be in place by the middle of next year after city councillors voted to push ahead with drafting a local alcohol policy.

Councillors were tossing up whether to delay work on a policy until after the local body elections in October but yesterday decided to get on it immediately.

The policy - a provision of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 - will enable the council to regulate opening hours for licensed premises, control location and lay down one-way door restrictions in the early hours.

The council is not legally allowed to complete the policy before October 18, a week after the local body elections.

Planning committee chairwoman Cr Sue Wells said she normally would not advocate the council begin work on a policy it could not complete within the term of its office, but in this case she was pushing for the council to take the unorthodox route.

Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button said it would be wrong for the council to let the local body elections delay the policy.

"The sooner we do this the better."

The urgency to develop a policy is partly fuelled by the preliminary results of a survey the council commissioned that showed most Cantabrians believed there were too many bottle stores in Christchurch and more than enough convenience stores selling alcohol.

About 4200 Christchurch people were chosen at random and invited to complete the survey, with about 1700 taking part.

Other findings included:

- Most people feel bottle stores (55 per cent), bars (58 per cent) and convenience stores (67 per cent) in the central city should have shorter hours to sell alcohol.

- Sixty-two per cent want suburban convenience stores to have less time to sell alcohol, while 49 per cent want the same for suburban bottle stores.

- A one-way door restriction barring new entries to a bar after 3am was backed by 83 per cent of those surveyed, including 63 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.

- Less than 9 per cent support increasing hours for any type of licensed premises in the city.

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- The Press

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