A Dunedin bar's plans to screen Fifa World Cup matches later
this year could be derailed by concerns the venue could
attract early-morning drinkers ''like moths to the flame''.
Octagon bar owner Grant Ellis has applied for a special
licence that would allow his premises - the ground-floor
Ratbags or Innocent Bystanders above it - to remain open for
matches kicking off at 4am and 7am.
The aim was to cater for up to 80 ''avid football fans'' per
game throughout the tournament, which begins on June 13 and
ends on July 14.
However, Mr Ellis' application has been opposed by Dunedin
police and Southern District Health Board medical officer of
health Dr Keith Reid.
The application will be considered at a meeting of the
Dunedin district licensing committee on Tuesday.
Dr Reid, opposing the application, said it would effectively
allow 24-hour trading in the Octagon, increasing the
availability of alcohol for up to 25 days during the
That included 11 ''high risk'' Thursday, Friday and Saturday
nights, when the number of people in the Octagon - and the
potential for alcohol-related harm - increased.
That raised questions about whether such a move was in
keeping with the regulatory requirement to minimise
alcohol-related harm, and whether watching football on
television in a bar constituted an event, he said.
''This increase in availability of alcohol - particularly
during the early morning hours - has the potential to fuel
alcohol-related harm in a sensitive area at [a] time which is
prone to such incidents.''
Dunedin City Council licensing inspector Tony Mole, in a
report to Tuesday's meeting, said, if approved, the venue
would be the only one allowed to sell alcohol after 4am
''when all the neighbouring bars are closed''.
''There are concerns over the premises being the only
premises open after 4am and people who just seek to continue
to drink being attracted like moths to the flame when they
see [the venue] is open.''
The committee would also need to consider whether a special
licence could be issued for a television event, he said.
Mr Ellis said Ratbags and Innocent Bystanders would be used
to screen matches at various times throughout the tournament.
Whichever bar was used, it would be open to the public, but
security and bar staff would remove those ''who are not
obvious football fans'', he said.