Sports club's approach to alcohol 'bewildering'

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

A Dunedin City Council liquor licensing inspector has been accused of being out of touch with sports clubs, during a sometimes acrimonious liquor licence hearing for the Pirates rugby club.

The inspector, Tony Mole, was quick to hit back at yesterday's hearing, saying the club's refusal to tweak its approach to the provision of alcohol was ''bewildering''.

The exchanges came at a Dunedin district licensing committee hearing, as Pirates sought to renew the on-licence for its Hancock Park clubrooms.

Since last year, the club had shared its facilities with the Caversham football club and the Macandrew netball club.

To comply with the Supply and Sale of Alcohol Act, the Caversham and Macandrew clubs' players had become associate members of Pirates, allowing them to buy alcohol from the bar.

The Act also allowed any member - including associates - to invite guests into the clubrooms, meaning players and supporters from both sides of a fixture could enjoy a post-match drink together.

But Mr Mole challenged the practice at yesterday's hearing, pointing out the legislation also required guests to be accompanied by a club member.

Police alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin told the hearing that accompaniment was more than just a token invitation.

It required a club member to be ''in the near vicinity [of their guest] most of the time'', although ''obviously if someone goes to the toilet, you are not going to accompany them to the toilet'', he said.

Mr Mole told the hearing he would expect accompaniment to include a member following their guest to the bar if they wanted to buy another drink.

Based on his experience as a sports club member over 15 years, Mr Mole said: ''There's no great amount of accompaniment taking place.''

The issue for Pirates was how to ensure opposition teams and their supporters could buy a post-match drink while still complying with alcohol legislation, he said.

The solution was to have the Pirates, Caversham and Macandrew clubs sign ''reciprocal agreements'' with all their scheduled opponents, once fixtures were confirmed.

The legislation already allowed for authorised visitors - those with reciprocal visiting rights - to buy alcohol from club facilities.

Mr Mole said the approach would be a ''simple fix'', and ''the fact it hasn't been taken up, I find quite bewildering''.

However, Pirates chairman Kelvin Trainor said his club had held a liquor licence for 27 years without issue, and the existing approach was ''best practice''.

He challenged Mr Mole to say how many sports clubs he had inspected in the past year, to which Mr Mole answered: ''I myself haven't done any.''

''So you don't have any idea how they work,'' Mr Trainor retorted.

Asked repeatedly why he would not sign up to the reciprocal agreement approach, Mr Trainor said he only wanted clarity.

He questioned how a reciprocal agreement could be signed with a team that did not have its own facilities to offer access to in return, and worried clubs would be lumbered with the workload of signing agreements across New Zealand.

Pirates was already struggling, as player and team numbers declined and compliance costs increased, and was trying to find ways to increase community use of its facilities, he said.

Sgt Paulin warned if police carried out enforcement action at the club and found non-compliance, the club's licence could be suspended and additional fees imposed.

The hearing adjourned yesterday and a written decision was expected within about a week.


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Byzantine reasons for sinking more p*ss.

Does the legislation call for "guests to be accompanied by a member" or for "guests to be closely accompanied at all times by a member"? If it's the former then Mr Mole is adding his own stricter interpretation to the legislative requirements. If it's the latter then clearly this would already be widely known.

I note Kelvin Trainor is the Director of a Health and Safety company. I'm sure he would not accept that "we don't need Health and Safety because we haven't had an accident in 27 years".
I simple fix is all that is required.

GIR that's a nice logical fallacy /straw man argument you just used there. If there have been no issues at the club rooms then there cant be any benefit from tightening the laws cannot reduce the risk of anything to zero no matter how many laws you create. We can always make roads safer by reducing the speed limit , for instance,and that's true right up to the point when the speed limit is zero...according to your logic that's exactly what should happen.

Mr Mole and Sergeant Paulin have shown a strong anti alcohol bias for the past few years and this is obviously continuing.
They both have demonstrated hard line ultra conservative interpretation of alcohol laws many times, from the Wests fiasco through the Broadbay "supermarket" mess. These two gents, coupled with others from DCC and local medical fraternities, are exercising a quite distorted control and influence over licensing matters.

Thinking that a member should accompany a guest a few metres to a bar to "authorise" purchases is a prime example of over reach.

It really is time both these people be assigned to alternate duties so more balanced approaches could be brought to the fore.

Not only Broadbay and wests but these two laws to themselves any there cronies at the DCC and Health south also cost the owner of Brockville four square all the bars in the octagon and the poor guy trying to get a new bar in moray place a fortune It is time Paulin and most of the DCC Liquor licensing team be sacked . I don't know why the ones being slandered by those ones who sit the all aroused thinking they are the cats pants in there over paid and well under worked jobs that I am sure myself and a few others could do for a lot less and have a city that can do ass they want not as they are told by a few what to do

All Pirates are doing is following the same procedures as most rugby/sports clubs in Dunedin and probably NZ. This is ridiculous and would be funny if this issue did nt have the potential to cause major headaches for hard working Sports clubs

Comments show how out of touch these alcohol dealers are with what the general community want. We are sick of the violence and destruction and injury that results from these 'sporty' people having 'post match drinks' and getting out of control.

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