More on the Local Boards Now Being Able to Object to Alcohol Licence Applications

Mixed Views

 

Source: www.purdue.edu
Source: http://www.purdue.edu

After the vote came through to “delegate to local boards the power to object to licence applications.” reactions were mixed on the result of the vote and what it meant. You can see the story here: Local Boards Now Have Power to Oppose Liquor Licence Applications with the vote falling in the following manner

  1. d)      delegate to local boards the power to object to licence applications.

A division was called for, voting on which was as follows:

ForCr AJ Anae

Cr CE Brewer

Cr CM Casey

Cr C Darby

Cr AM Filipaina

Cr CE Fletcher

Cr DA Krum

Cr ME Lee

Cr D Quax

Cr SL Stewart

Cr JG Walker

Cr WD Walker

Cr J Watson

AgainstCr WB Cashmore

Deputy Mayor PA Hulse

Cr CM Penrose

Cr MP Webster

Cr GS Wood

Abstained

The division was declared CARRIED by 13 votes to 5.

………

Minutes will go up once Council has published them. That said I am surprised Papakura/Manurewa Councillor Penrose objected given that he is a staunch advocate of tougher Liquor Licence controls. I wonder what both Manurewa and Papakura Local Boards will think if they think he is now on the wrong side of the ledger with this one.

 

As for comments

From Councillor George Wood

Auckland Council has got ourselves into a right real pickle over liquor licensing. A crazy decision where the Auckland Council may very well end up in appeals to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority with one part of the council ffighting another part. What the cost of appeals will be is anyone guess but the lawyers won’t be worried as long as the fees are paid by the ratepayers. A simple solution was put forward whereby the council and local boards would not fight one another but boards could bring their views to the attention of the District Licensing committee.Councillor Cathy Casey moved an amendment which allows boards to oppose and then appeal against decisions in the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority hearings. This is parish pump politics at its worst and it will be interesting as to how far the local boards take this new unlettered power.

 

 

From the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board which includes background information

Local Boards granted power to advocate community alcohol concerns

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards are delighted with Auckland Council Governing Body’s decision today to grant local boards the power to object to liquor licence applications in their areas.

Following the presentation of a report on local board involvement in alcohol licence applications under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012), the Governing Body has agreed that local boards have a significant role in understanding, representing and advocating for community priorities and preferences around alcohol policy and licensing.

Until now, local boards have had limited ability to object to licences being granted in their communities. However, acting on the significant concerns many Auckland communities have around alcohol-related harm, 17 of 21 local boards had requested the power to object to liquor licences in their areas.

Lydia Sosene, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair, spoke at the meeting, strongly advocating for sanctioned local board involvement in alcohol licensing processes.

“At the moment there are very few community checks and balances on liquor licence applications because the process is not set up in a way that encourages and enables local communities’ involvement. The current process is very technical and is hugely intimidating and exclusive of community members, especially those from socially disadvantaged areas such as Māngere-Ōtāhuhu. Today’s decision means that we, as local boards, are better positioned to empower our communities to have their voices heard,” she said.

Ōtara-Papatoetoe spokesman, Stephen Grey, spoke of the positive impact local board participation has already had in liquor licence applications.

“Local boards have already achieved some really beneficial results, such as reduced operating hours and changes to alcohol sales layouts in stores. These seemingly small changes, requested based on community concerns and harm-minimisation research, can have a significant positive flow-on effect. Being able to engage with licensees and the licensing committee to discuss these options is really important.”

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board Chairman Fa’anana Efeso Collins says, “We are delighted to have the Auckland Council Governing Body’s support to fulfil this crucial role and thank the councillors for their wisdom and foresight.”

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards are strongly committed to reducing the harm alcohol causes in their communities and have been working on a range of initiatives to empower their communities to make their voices heard. Advocacy for sanctioned local board involvement in the licensing process has been a key area of activity over the past several months.

……….


Background:

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards are committed to reducing the harm alcohol caused in our communities. It is one of the most serious issues our communities face, and something many of our people feel strongly about.

There has been strong feedback from the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe communities that they feel there are too many licensed liquor retailers in the area. Both areas have some of the highest concentrations of the groups most at risk from alcohol harm: young people, Māori and Pacific people, and people from the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Alcohol is a contributing factor in more road accidents in the southern areas than the Auckland average, and the area has an above-average rate of drink-driving offences.

People in Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe were significantly more likely to agree that: drunk people often cause damage in their neighbourhoods; that drunk people urinating in public, vomiting or being loud is common; and that negative or extremely negative impacts of drinking occur around them.

As a result, the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards have taken a strong stance against the conditions and activity that foster the misuse of alcohol – particularly working to address the disproportionately high number of licensed liquor retailers in the area.

A key project for the local boards is working to empower local communities to make their voices heard by the body who grants liquor licences – the District Licensing Committee. The local boards are working hard to educate community members about how the process works and to support them to voice their concerns about relevant liquor licence applications.

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Boards are not anti-business, so we give a lot of consideration to objections, but object to new liquor off-licences in our area, because of the current saturation of licences. And, the local boards will also object to some off-licence renewals, especially when they have unreasonable trading hours or they have been caught selling to minors or they are located in neighbourhood/residential areas or too close to schools.

Current state of the licensing process
Liquor licences are granted by the District Licensing Committee (DLC) under the provisions of the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

If there are no objections to a liquor licence, there is no guaranteed opportunity of being heard, or real ability to negotiate licence conditions with the applicant, or to ask the DLC to impose certain conditions.

The local boards’ experience to date is that licence renewals are generally granted, whether anyone objects or not. However, by lodging objections the local boards have succeeded in getting good conditions in place around such things as reasonable trading hours, displays and banning single sales.

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So we have an interesting situation now with the granting and opposing of liquor licences. One question I do have is will the Local Boards be able to access a standardised guidelines, and resources to handle this new power they now have. The last thing I want is time and money wasted in the courts owing to botched opposition to a liquor licence application.

It will be very interesting to see how this pans out over the next 18 months.

 

One thought on “More on the Local Boards Now Being Able to Object to Alcohol Licence Applications

  1. Interesting debate. As we have liquor trusts out West – We already have the politicians controlling the liquor licenses, the liquor money, and the pokies money.

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