Kawhia Hotel's operators and patrons are opposing a plan for a year-round booze ban in the seaside King Country township with a 135-signature petition.
Their petition is one of 16 submissions Otorohanga District Council has received on the proposal, put forward by chief executive Dave Clibbery after the alleged assault of Constable Perry Griffin at Kawhia Wharf on January 11.
The council will today consider the submissions, four of which oppose the ban. Dave Barnett and Annie Tapara of Kawhia Hotel said its submission is supported by the petition that the community would suffer by extending the the ban from the Christmas holidays to all year.
"The months from March to October are relatively quiet months with no apparent evidence of alcohol consumption in public areas."
The impact on the local wholesale outlets may be detrimental.
"The freedom to enjoy refreshments whilst fishing, picnics and barbecues is prohibited and with reference to the incident dated 11 January 2013, there is no evidence that alcohol was consumed in public areas.
"The harassment we endured from media following the 11 January was horrendous, though the incident occurred a fair distance away from our hotel." Jackie Maikuku denies the charges of aggravated assault and assault with intent to injure and is awaiting trial.
The petition includes comments like "hell, no freedom", "It is ridiculous", "most stupid idea ever," and "will kill the town". Ian Besley said the amendment was unnecessary. "This amendments takes liberties/freedom off everyone because of a few people's actions . . . Punish the offenders not everyone."
Judith Johns said the proposal was not in the community's best interestsy. "Past problems are associated with the consumption of alcohol on private property and then intoxicated people moving to public domains with or without alcohol . . . If they then act anti-socially they should/could be arrested for disturbing the peace."
Resident Susanne Dimond said the majority of the community would be penalised by the actions of small minority." Lou Sherman was one of the 11 who supported a year-round ban.
"I am always picking up empty bottles around the wharf area, and at time have picked up broken glass out of the shelter and off the sand. If those people who drink in their cars and on the wharf cannot control themselves and at least use the rubbish bins for their empties then let them drink elsewhere."
Population Health medical officer of health Richard Wall said the proposed ban was a key tool for managing disorder.
"Alcohol-related harm does not just affect locals but over time has an impact on visitors' perceptions of Kawhia and Aotea. Successful management of the problem necessitates the management of alcohol and the liquor ban is an effective tool to do this.
"It is a means to reclaim these community spaces for residents and visitors alike. This is likely to have positive flow on benefits for the Kawhia brand and economy."
In a report going before the council, environmental servies manager Andrew Loe said the process of proposing and adopting a bylaw will almost always result in the curbing of individual rights or freedoms.
"Significant changes to bylaws are subject to public consultation but such changes do not have to have the overwhelming support of the community.
"In some cases a proposed bylaw may be broadly unpopular, but if it is clearly the most appropriate way of addressing a significant problems, the likely beneficial effects can justify its introduction."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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