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Banks Forced Into A Change Of Heart On Grog - Labour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Banks
John Banks

City Vision and Labour Auckland City Councillors are astounded at John Banks telling an election meeting that he is now keen to bring in controls for off-licence liquor outlets.

This apparent policy statement is particularly surprising given in October last year Banks unilaterally put a stop to developing a Council liquor policy that would close grog shops at 10pm and allow communities a voice on any proposals for new ones.

Councillor Richard Northey said, "Since then, Banks has allowed his Citizens and Ratepayers cronies to vote down three attempts by Labour and City Vision Councillors to resuscitate these off-licence control proposals. I am very heartened by John Banks' born-again concern about the problems caused by unregulated suburban off-licence liquor stores. To help implement John Banks newly discovered liquor control policy I am putting a Notice of Motion before the appropriate Council Committee- the City Development Committee - to restart the process for tight controls and a community veto over new suburban liquor outlets. We shall see whether John Banks can be bothered turning up to support what appears now to be his policy."

Councillor Cathy Casey said, "Across the city, local communities are crying out for some controls on liquor stores. In some areas of Auckland it is easier to buy a litre of grog than a litre of milk. People are telling me as I go door knocking that they want an end to the proliferation of grog shops in their local neighbourhoods. They recognise that the availability of cut price alcohol contributes towards crime, violence and the breakdown of families and communities."

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, "The Eden Albert, Mt Roskill, Tamaki and Maungakiekie Community Boards will be very pleased Banks has changed his mind. All four Boards voted to support liquor controls on off-licences last year and some of the Boards were disappointed when he called a stop to consultation on the policy that would have put controls in place. Banks listened to the liquor industry rather than the local community. If he has finally seen the light I hope he will attend the Committee and vote in favour of tighter controls on liquor stores."

Councillor Leila Boyle said, "City Vision-Labour has consistently called for more community say over new off-licences. There are many more liquor stores in poorer communities like Oranga, Onehunga, Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Panmure and Glen Innes. International research shows that the amount of alcohol purchased and consumed increases in relation to availability and our communities know this from first-hand experience. Auckland City Council should have responded to this clear community need last year but John Banks and C&R refused, perhaps due to pressure put on them by the liquor industry. If John Banks is genuine he needs to act on this issue before the election."

Councillor Graeme Easte said, "Two years ago, John Banks harangued the local Police when they sought greater control over licensed premises. Banks claimed that Auckland's reputation as an "international tourist destination" would be harmed by restrictions on liquor trading hours. I find it rich that he is now the self-proclaimed champion of community-friendly rules around liquor supply."

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