Licensed premises can drink to success

Timaru and Waimate licensed premises have emerged with a clean slate following a controlled purchase operation at the weekend.

Timaru Police licensing sergeant Grant Lord said 20 premises were visited in the Timaru and Waimate districts. An underage volunteer was unable to purchase alcohol in any of the premises.

"That is a good result, a very good result. The message is getting home. It was a tri-agency operation with the police, Timaru District Council and Crown and Public Health all having a part to play."

In November last year four Timaru restaurants were caught out in a sting selling alcohol to people under age.

Mr Lord said all four restaurants; the Golden Palace, Little India, Chengs Chinese Restaurant and the Royal Garden, had served their suspensions, having to close for a set period.

Anyone over the age of 18 can go to a restaurant and drink. Anyone under the age of 18, regardless of their age, can also drink as long as they are with a parent or legal guardian.

People under the age of 18 can eat in a restaurant without supervision, but cannot drink.

However, anyone under the age of 18 cannot purchase a meal if the premises is licensed as a tavern.

In October, in a controlled purchase operation of 26 licensed premises, only one was caught out, with Petite having to close for a night after it sold alcohol to an underage volunteer.

In January this year, 15 premises were visited to test the under-25 policy, with 100 per cent compliance.

The volunteers were over 18 but not carrying any identification. They were all refused service when they failed to provide ID.

Police plan to carry out a mixture of monitoring exercises and controlled purchase operations this year, following the introduction of tougher guidelines on the supply of liquor to minors.

Changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act in December gave police powers to issue fines of up to $2000 to adults who supply alcohol to minors without the consent of a parent or guardian.

The Timaru Herald