A supermarket franchise in Tauranga will face five days not being able to sell alcohol following a combined operation by licensing agencies in August.
The decision was made by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) after the Countdown supermarket in Bureta sold alcohol to a 17-year-old during a Controlled Purchase Operation conducted by the Police, Tauranga Alcohol Licensing Inspectors and a Medical Officer of Health representative. Tauranga City Council followed through with enforcement action.
The operation involved an underage purchaser, under the authority and supervision of Police, attempting to purchase alcohol from a number of premises within the Tauranga district.
A variety of off-licenced premises were tested during the operation – supermarkets, grocery and bottle stores. Of the 23 premises visited, two failed by selling alcohol to the minor – the Countdown premise and a local bottle store. A suspension application in relation to the second premise is still before ARLA, awaiting a determination.
Sam Kemp, Team Leader: Alcohol Licensing, Tauranga City Council has mixed feelings about the results.
“While it is encouraging that staff at 21 out of the 23 premises ‘tested’ were vigilant and prevented the sale of alcohol to a minor, it is disappointing that two failed to do so,” says Sam.
“The legal age to purchase alcohol is 18 and over, but requiring relevant photo identification from customers who may appear to be under the age of 25 is the best practice to avoid situations like those faced by these non-compliant premises. If the customer can’t produce ID, then refuse the sale. It’s really that simple.”
“These interagency operations are an effective way of ‘taking a snapshot’ to test compliance, and they are performed at random times throughout the year. All we ask is that licensed premise operators and managers treat every day as the day when they could be tested.”
The Countdown will not be permitted to sell alcohol from 7am Saturday, 18 November to 7am Thursday, 23 November. A store employee, who was ‘duty manager’ at the time of sale, will also have their manager’s certificate suspended for 28 days from 18 November. Neither the supermarket licensee nor the manager disputed the suspensions, which were handed down in October.