Liquor store allowed 'at school's front gate'

Local board chairwoman Lydia Sosene (right) and Southern Cross Campus principal Robin Staples outside the superette above which a liquor store will open. Photo NZ Herald/Dean Purcell
Local board chairwoman Lydia Sosene (right) and Southern Cross Campus principal Robin Staples outside the superette above which a liquor store will open. Photo NZ Herald/Dean Purcell
A principal is flabbergasted at a decision to allow a liquor store to open in a former video parlour directly opposite his school in Mangere.

"There is no place for a liquor outlet at the front gate of a school," said Robin Staples of Southern Cross Campus, which caters for about 2000 pupils from Years 1 to 13.

The school and the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board are considering legal options after the Auckland District Licensing Committee granted Mr Jagjit Janjua and Ms Balbinder Janjua an off-licence for a liquor store above their grocery store at Wickman Way opposite the school.

The liquor outlet will be on the first floor of the building the Janjuas own, replacing a video parlour.

The Janjuas have agreed to surrender their off-licence for wine and beer at the grocery store, close the liquor store between 3pm and 4pm on school days and not sell single RTDs (ready to drink spirit-based drinks).

The closest off-licence liquor store is about 1km away.

Mr Janjua was not available to comment yesterday, but the licensing committee decision said he had traded at the premises since 1994 and quoted him saying he "was concerned about the exposure of alcohol to young persons and for that reason he had never promoted the availability of alcohol from the Price Cutter store externally".

The licensing committee, comprising Gavin Campbell, former local body politician Gwen Bull and Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member Gary Holmes, said there was no evidence "to conclude that the impact of the granting of the licence would affect amenity and good order to more than a minor effect".

"The evidence of the police is that there are no significant hot spots for alcohol-related reporting in the area", the decision said.

The reduction in hours by the Janjuas was enough for the police to withdraw opposition, but the establishment of a full-strength liquor store selling RTDs was opposed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service and an Auckland Council licensing inspector, Anita Marsh.

Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board chairwoman Lydia Sosene said the decision was devastating for the local community, adding it would exacerbate crime and domestic violence in a neighbourhood with three gangs in the vicinity.

Liquor row

Grocery owners granted liquor off-licence opposite Southern Cross Campus school.

They agree to close liquor store between 3pm and 4pm on school days and not to sell single RTDs.

Police withdraw opposition.

School and Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board consider legal options.

- Bernard Orsman of the NZ Herald

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