Abuse copped from angry patrons demanding drinks last
Easter has staff at Wanaka's Speight's Ale House dreading
working the holiday again this year, bar co-owner Grant Lawrie
The establishment is one of seven Wanaka bars - and one
Queenstown bar - which will have applications for special
liquor licences on Good Friday and Easter Sunday considered
by the new Queenstown Lakes district licensing committee next
Reaction from patrons to Easter trading restrictions at
Wanaka's Speight's Ale House last year was ''terrible'' and
staff members were ''dreading Easter again'' as a result, Mr
''Our staff were getting abused because people just don't
understand. People are sitting there and you say 'You've had
a drink, you've ordered your meal and now you have to leave
as soon as you've finished it' type scenario. Those sorts of
things just leave a very sour taste in the mouth for a lot of
''They're left confused. They think it's our fault ... They
all think that we're setting the rule, which is incorrect.''
A meeting of Wanaka licensees was held yesterday to establish
a ''common approach'' ahead of their individual special
licence hearings on Monday and Tuesday.
Mr Lawrie said the group's licence applications were all
based around an ''Event Wanaka'' concept, rather than the
individual events taking place in the area at Easter such as
the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.
''The whole town is going to be an event in a way. It may not
fit in with the whole full legislation of what an event is
deemed to be, but if you really look at it there's got to be
some common-sense approach being displayed here.''
He was disappointed the issue remained unresolved so close to
Easter, despite bar owners submitting their applications
about eight weeks ago.
''Nobody's very hopeful of anything happening in a positive
manner. It should have been dealt with before now. We
shouldn't even be having to go to a hearing.''
Criticising bar owners for wanting to make a profit at Easter
was unfair, Mr Lawrie said.
''We've got to profit from it now ... because we'll get to
May and June and the place is dead.
''It's a double standard in a way because you can open and
you've got to pay your staff time and a-half and a day in
lieu but you can't have the ability to earn money.''
Queenstown Lakes district councillors Ella Lawton and Calum
MacLeod also attended yesterday's licensee meeting.
Cr Lawton said while she supported the bar owners' position
and hoped they could achieve a positive result, the limited
time left before Easter made it difficult for the council to
have any influence over the outcome.
''I hope that we can have more of a discussion earlier on
next year. I'd like to see some sort of progress made so that
we don't have to challenge that [liquor law] each time.''
Cr MacLeod was reluctant to comment because he was personally
affected by the laws as the owner of Wanaka's Cinema Paradiso
business. However, he shared Cr Lawton's view on starting the
ball rolling much earlier for Easter 2015.
The liquor licensing hearings take place from 9am at the St
John meeting room, in Frankton, on Monday and at Edgewater,
in Wanaka, on Tuesday.