Ratbags representative Gavin Ellis has hit back at
suggestions that extending the bar's opening hours to allow
patrons to watch Fifa World Cup games would increase
alcohol-related harm in the Octagon.
The District Licensing Committee yesterday heard the special
licence application from Ratbags to open in June and July
between 4am and 8am when televised coverage of the games
would be shown.
Committee chairman Colin Weatherall said after the hearing a
decision was likely to be released later this week.
The application was opposed by police and Public Health South
on the grounds that it was nothing more than a continuation
of normal trading and there was a real risk of
alcohol-related harm in the area.
''Ratbags is a high-risk zone for alcohol-related harm ...
Allowing for this premises to be open when others in the area
are closing will create a honey pot effect where patrons,
some of whom will be intoxicated, will be drawn [to] the only
premises open,'' alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian
Paulin, of Dunedin, said in a submission.
Police and PHS also questioned whether watching cup games on
television was an ''event'' under the legislation, given past
In his submission, Mr Ellis said the application was ''not,
and never was'', an excuse to extend licensing hours for
The aim was to give staff work during the slow June-July
period, as well as providing a service to the city and people
who wanted to watch their favourite or home country team
competing while ''in a safe and controlled environment with
other football enthusiasts''.
He suggested the bar was contemplating breathalysing people
coming into the bar for the games if security was unsure of
Under the ''three strikes and loss of licence law'' it was
not in his interests to have non-football patrons on the
premises during the event, he said.
Previous similar events at the bar indicated about 1.6 drinks
per person were bought, with alcoholic drinks averaging at 1
per person, less than the four-drink guideline given by
health professionals, while food made up the 60% of the bar's
revenue, he said.
The Fifa World Cup was one of the most watched events around
the world and in New Zealand.
''A very significant event,'' Mr Ellis said.
The Fire Service also opposed the extension as Ratbags did
not have an approved evacuation scheme.
Mr Ellis said work was under way to put a scheme in place.