Drunk patrons will not be allowed in bars from next week, and
if they are caught, the bar-owner will face a fine of up to
Police will also film punters, to prove their intoxication.
The new rules are among tougher alcohol measures under the
Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act which take effect from
December 18 and are intended to reduce alcohol harm in the
A 4am closing time for all on-licence premises has been well
publicised, but other changes are not widely known.
These include police having the power to ban shot- glass
drinks or the use of glass vessels after a certain time, and
$250 on-the-spot fines for people who drink in a public place
or use a fake ID.
Bars are now forbidden to serve intoxicated people.
Under the new law, drunks will not be allowed to be in a bar
and the bar-owner can be fined up to $5000 for any breach.
Police already patrol bars, but drunks will now be judged by
tougher standards and officers will have video cameras at the
ready to film them, said Inspector Gary Davey, of Auckland
The film would be given to the Alcohol Regulatory and
Licensing Authority - a district court judge and three other
members - which could impose fines.
Said Mr Davey: "Police will be moving towards video-based
evidence. So rather than just the police officer's word
against the licensee's word ... it's to show the authority
for them to make up their own mind.
"We're trying to establish a level of evidence we sometimes
have struggled with in the past when people have disputed
whether they're intoxicated or not."
Two cameras had been bought for the city's enforcement team,
Mr Davey said.
The filming would not be done covertly.
Filming had been used occasionally, but "not on a consistent
Guidelines had been agreed with the industry to help
determine who was drunk and who wasn't.
The definition of intoxication had changed, Mr Davey said.
"You can have less to drink now and still be deemed to be
intoxicated for the purposes of this act. In the past, it had
to be quite a high level of intoxication.
It's brought that level down now."
The criteria used to establish Drunk-cam eye on boozers
intoxication are: appearing to be affected by liquor,
impaired behaviour, impaired co-ordination or impaired
Someone who fails two of these tests will be considered
Auckland Council's manager of alcohol licensing, Rob Abbott,
said licensing inspectors would also inspect bars. Unlike
police, they would not have to identify themselves on
entering licensed premises.
"This means they can make some initial observations ... while
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said
the changes were significant, and members were worried about
several compliance issues.
"There's a risk to their livelihood in terms of the
three-strikes-and-you're-out [penalty]," he said.
"They [regulators] have wide powers to impose conditions. The
industry is looking for the enforcement agencies to take a
reasonable approach and not apply conditions that are
unreasonable or won't genuinely make a difference to reducing
Police filming patrons was not something he wanted to see
happen often. "There would be issues around privacy, I
"Again, we are looking at agencies to take a practical
approach to this - their approach should be to get
compliance, not prosecutions."
People should be aware of the pressures the industry was
"If they are asked to leave, they are being asked to leave
because they have got themselves into a state which is
putting the bar at risk."
- Andrew Koubaridis of the New Zealand Herald