Queenstown's drinking habits are to be put under the
microscope by the area's council.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council intends to develop a
Local Alcohol Policy, as allowed for under the Sale and
Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, and has asked for public opinion
through an online survey.
The survey seeks to gauge opinions by questions such as
whether alcohol is too accessible, whether drinking is a
major problem in Queenstown Lakes District communities and
whether one-way door policies should be in force after a
Bar and restaurant operator Good Group's director Russell
Gray said the survey put too much focus on licensed premises,
considering ''70% of alcohol consumption'' was consumed off
licensed premises and, ultimately, the status quo was working
Good Group has bars or licensed restaurants nationally,
including Harry's Pool Bar, Bardeaux, Barmuda and Minibar in
Mr Gray said in bars alcoholic drinks were measured and the
area supervised which made them the best places to consume
''The issues in the community are more about the
pre-loading,'' he said, suggesting the council focus more on
supermarkets where he said cheap liquor was available.
He criticised any one-way door policy as ''there's certainly
no evidence'' which supported the policy had positive
''That would be a disaster.''
He felt the same about earlier closing times for bars, saying
there was no correlation between hours of trade and disorder.
''The status quo seems to be working pretty well.''
What was disappointing about the Act was that it did not
place much emphasis on individuals taking responsibility for
their own actions, he said.
Queenstown police regularly dealt with intoxicated people.
Last weekend, for example, a taxi driver could not wake an
intoxicated Australian tourist who fell asleep in his cab and
asked the police for help at 2.25am on Saturday.
The disorder often continues on weekdays. Police arrested a
21-year-old woman for detoxification after she was knocking
on residential doors at 6am on Monday. Sergeant Steve Watt,
of Queenstown, said given the resort's ''high number of
licensed premises it's a good time to discuss the issues
surrounding liquor licensing''.
A report titled The Impact of Alcohol on the Health of
Southern Communities, released in July, left no doubt the
way alcohol was being consumed was harmful, with Lakes
District Hospital having the ''highest overall prevalence of
It also noted at all Southern hospitals ''a greater burden''
fell on the weekends, but the weekday burden ''was relatively
high at Lakes District compared with the other two
Furthermore, in Queenstown, ''which has a higher density of
licensed premises and longer opening hours than the other
cities'' the prevalence of people seeking help for
alcohol-related issues remained high after 4am, whereas there
was a ''sharp drop'' at Dunedin and Southland.
St John Central Otago territory manager Kelvin Perriman, of
Queenstown, yesterday said alcohol-related incidences
''certainly keep us busy and sometimes unnecessarily busy''.
''The licensing hours do need to be reviewed regularly as we
see quite nasty alcohol-related injuries between 2am and 5am,
so we'd like to see some work to minimise that,'' Mr Perriman
Council regulatory manager Lee Webster said a Local Alcohol
Policy would be flexible enough to cater for the different
needs, expectations and preferences of all communities in the
district. Wanaka and Queenstown already have different
closing hours, for example.
The council's survey is open until November 1 and is on the
Sample questions in the Queenstown Lakes District Council's
• If a one-way door policy were to operate, what time would
you set as the time when new patrons could not enter
• What are your views in regard to the total number of places
where alcohol is sold in Queenstown?
• When do you think licensed premises in your neighbourhood
should be allowed to sell alcohol?
• How many times have you personally been affected or seen an
intoxicated person in public areas in the district in the
past 24 months?