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LLA Decision Backs Council's Alcohol Policy

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
LLA Decision Backs Council's Alcohol Policy

10 SEPTEMBER 2008 - The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has welcomed the decision by the Liquor Licensing Authority (LLA) to reject an application by a Queenstown bar for an exemption to the local council's 4am closing policy.

Tradis Limited and the local casino applied to the LLA for an exemption to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's new liquor licensing policy which clawed back the existing open all hours' policy to a 4am closing.

The LLA ruled against Tradis although it granted an application from Skycity Queenstown Casino to retain its 24-hour licence for its VIP room. LLA Chair Judge Bill Unwin said a site visit to each of the premises showed a marked contrast between local taverns and the casino.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan says the LLA has consistently adopted the view that a well consulted liquor policy adopted by a territorial authority and supported by the reporting agencies could constitute a valid reason for making changes to licensing hours.

Mr Vaughan said other councils could follow suit and incorporate restrictions on opening hours within their liquor policies.

"There is evidence to show that there is a link between trading hours and alcohol related harms - the more alcohol is available, the greater the potential for alcohol related harms including crime and violence.

"However, councils have been hamstrung in their ability to alter opening hours in the absence of any specific problems associated with the operation of the particular premises such as noise or anti-social behaviour."

The LLA is to conduct a full review of the changes at a week-long public hearing in August or September next year. The hearing will look at the consequences of implementing the reduced hours and provide an opportunity for all parties to seek changes if they wish.

The authority listed some of the initiatives and policies that it would expect to be considered by any applicant seeking extended trading hours.

They would include the implementation of an alcohol management plan; participation in a local accord; the provision of bistro meals and/or free finger food; an 0800 community hot line; restrictions on vertical drinking zones; banning rtds or shots at certain times; independent audits; staff workshops; security; lockdowns; CCTV; funding taxi ranks; funding transport; funding local clean-ups; and cool down periods.

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