DCC endorses alcohol policy

The Dunedin City Council is pressing ahead with a watered-down local alcohol policy, but says it will still benefit the community.

Councillors at yesterday's full council meeting voted to endorse the provisional policy, which would now be submitted to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (Arla) for approval.

The move came two years after an earlier draft local alcohol policy (Lap) was appealed by a group including supermarket chains and liquor stores.

Arla eventually upheld four elements of the appeal, including finding a proposal to reduce off-licence hours from 7am-11pm to 9am-9pm was "unreasonable" because it lacked sufficient evidence to show the alcohol-related harm that would be avoided.

The council had responded last year by suggesting a two-year trial of reduced hours for off-licences, of 7am-10pm, followed by a two-year trial of 7am-9pm.

However, councillors yesterday voted to strike out the idea of a trial, and instead include off-licence hours of 7am-10pm, just one hour less than the 11pm closing time now permitted.

They also agreed to abandon a moratorium on new off-licences, together with a requirement for them to have alcohol management plans and certification by the DCC, which Arla deemed were "out of scope" with legislation.

However, other changes not successfully appealed would still be included, including a 3am closing time for pubs and other on-licences and a 2.30am one-way door policy.

Council community services general manager Simon Pickford told yesterday's meeting the revised policy would still provide "very, very useful tools" for the city's district licensing committee.


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