Dunedin residents will have their chance later this year
to influence when and where licensed premises can operate in
the city in the future.
Work has begun on a draft local alcohol policy for the city,
and Dunedin City Council staff are hoping it will be ready
for council sign off in June.
That would be followed by a period of public consultation,
with the intention being for submissions to be heard in
Under the Alcohol Reform Bill, passed last year, communities
are able to have more say on where and how licensed premises
operate in their towns through local body alcohol policies.
They can establish rules on issues like opening hours for
licensed premises, the location of licensed premises and
late-night re-entry restrictions to bars. Council liquor
licensing and projects officer Kevin Mechen said the drafting
of a local alcohol policy was a key piece of work for the
council this year.
Some background work had already been done and staff were in
a position to start pre-draft conversations with key groups,
before drafting a policy for councillors to sign off for
public consultation, possibly in August.
''This is the community's best opportunity to have a say in
what happens in the city with regards to alcohol.
''For example, if they don't want any more liquor outlets to
open in South Dunedin, they need to come forward and say they
don't want any more.
''If they don't do that, there is no chance to change the
policy for another six years, and if there are no limits in
the policy licence applications will be granted.''
If the council does not set trading hours, these will revert
to national default trading hours.
The feedback from consultation will be used to formulate a
The provisional policy is prevented by statute from being
advertised prior to December 18.
It could take effect, at the earliest, from January 17, with
any trading hour changes to come into force three months from
Alongside the work on the local alcohol policy, councils also
have to establish a district licensing committee, made up of
a councillor and two members of the public, to be operational
by December 18.
The committee, usually the chairman alone unless an
application is opposed, will decide all applications for
licences, manager's certificates, special licences and
The committee will need to be trained in the relevant
legislation and the local alcohol policy before December.
The licensing system is also to become self-funded by
applicants, with a national consultation document on a fee
structure for that due out in April.