Easter trading hours seem set to be a contentious issue in
Wanaka again this year.
Seven Wanaka bars and one Queenstown bar have applied to the
Queenstown Lakes District Licensing Committee for special
licences to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Hearings are due to be held in Queenstown on April 7 and 8.
Bullock bar owner Brendan Quirke contacted the Otago Daily
Times concerned that without a special licence, bar doors
would remain closed when 25,000 extra people were in town for
the three-day Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow and other events.
Mr Quirke said it was frustrating bars were not able to run
their business on ''what potentially could be the busiest
weekend in town''.
''It's going to cost us a fortune in terms of loss of
There was also the issue of staff losing two days' wages, he
''The joke of it is that Warbirds and the jet [boat] sprints
are allowed to serve alcohol at their event.''
Warbirds general manager Ed Taylor said yesterday the event
had special licences to sell alcohol. The Sale of Liquor Act
prohibits the sale of alcohol on Good Friday and Easter
Sunday except when people are dining or where special
licences are issued. Off-licence sales of wine on Easter
Sunday are permitted in some circumstances.
Mr Quirke said during a meeting of Wanaka licensees in
December, he understood police and the Queenstown Lakes
District Council indicated they would not oppose the bars'
application for special licences. However, he understood the
police stance had changed.
Police could not be contacted for comment and council
regulatory manager Lee Webster said he could not comment
while the applications were in front of the licensing
Mr Webster said in the past, applications for special
licences on ''sacrosanct days'' were heard by the council but
now they were being heard by a newly formed committee chaired
by former Liquor Licensing Authority chairman Bill Unwin.
He indicated decisions made by the committee over Easter
trading this year would set a precedent for future
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, who has been a strong advocate of
liberalising all forms of Easter trading, believed the
committee should bear in mind Wanaka's bars catered largely
for visitors over Easter.
She considered a ''liberal approach'' should be taken in
particular to those bars serving food and having a history of
providing good hospitality.
Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore said the
Easter trading laws were a ''lost opportunity'' for the