The days of prominent displays of alcohol near the
entrance to two major Dunedin supermarkets may be numbered as
health and licensing authorities oppose the renewal of their
The outcome of the applications from Countdown Central, in
Cumberland St, and Countdown Mailer St is likely to be
closely followed as it might provide guidance on the
application of new laws about layout of alcohol displays in
Public Health South medical officer of health Dr Marion Poore
and liquor licensing inspector Tony Mole, with the support of
police, have raised concerns about the applications to renew
the two off-licences because they say the supermarkets are
not meeting the purpose of sections of the Sale and Supply of
Alcohol Act 2012 aiming to limit shoppers' exposure to
Alcohol is displayed in plain view to the immediate right of
shoppers as they enter Countdown Central.
Dr Poore said the alcohol aisle at the Countdown Mailer St
was also in plain view as shoppers entered the store.
Mr Mole was also concerned snack foods, which might attract
children, were displayed in the same aisle as alcohol at the
Mailer St supermarket.
The matter will be considered by Dunedin's District Licensing
Committee (DLC) on July 2.
DLC secretary Kevin Mechen said he expected the Dunedin case
could attract attention because it involved two large
supermarkets in a test of the new laws before draft local
alcohol policies (LAP) in other areas were tested by appeals
on similar issues.
It was always going to be up to a district licensing
committee to make licence decisions, even when LAPs were in
place, he noted. A LAP for Dunedin was still being drafted.
The two supermarkets were the first in Dunedin to be tested
on the new law as their licences had come up for renewal
first, Mr Mechen said.
The committee would need to consider whether the area
nominated by the company for liquor displays met the criteria
of the Act.
There was provision in the Act to renew a licence with a
condition that displays be reconfigured to all parties'
satisfaction within a nominated period up to 18 months.
Mr Mole suggested if displays of alcohol at the end of
alcohol aisles at both stores were moved back into the
aisles, that might make the alcohol areas less ''obvious''.
Dr Poore yesterday said she was still discussing the options
She would not be drawn on her preferred layout for alcohol
displays in the stores until the hearing, but the Central
Otago District Licensing Committee last month noted, when it
renewed the off-licence of the Alexandra Four Square, that
the Ministry of Health was seeking to have complete
separation of alcohol from other products, even though the
Act does not require it.
The Four Square had already moved its alcohol away from the
store's entrance before applying to renew its off-licence.
A Countdown spokeswoman said at present there was no national
guidance from the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority
on how the new layout rules applied.
''It's therefore only natural that there will be some
different points of view.
''It's now a matter for the [DLA] and we'll continue to work
constructively with councils and other interested parties as
we comply with the new law.''
There were several examples around the country where
supermarket operators, including Countdown, were being
queried on layout, which was expected, given the law was new
and there was no national guidance yet, she said.
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (sections 112 to 114)
stipulates a requirement for district licensing committees to
place a condition on supermarket off-licences describing the
area permitted for alcohol displays, the purpose of which is
to ''limit (so far as is reasonably practicable) the exposure
of shoppers in supermarkets and grocery stores to displays
and promotions of alcohol, and advertisements for alcohol''.