DCC's policy on alcohol approved

Dave Cull
Dave Cull. Photo: ODT files
A new alcohol policy for Dunedin has been signed off in Wellington, days after the process was labelled a "farce" by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.

Mr Cull, in a statement yesterday, confirmed the Dunedin City Council had been advised this week the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) had approved Dunedin's local alcohol policy (Lap).

That meant the council would, at its meeting next week, consider a staff report which recommended introducing the new policy from February 1 next year.

The policy reduced maximum on-licence and off-licence hours by an hour, and introduced a one-way door policy from 2.30am for city bars.

However, the changes had been significantly watered down earlier this year after being successfully appealed by a group including supermarket chains and liquor stores.

The city's Lap was developed beginning in 2014, and originally included a proposal to cut off-licence hours from 7am-11pm to 9am-9pm.

It also proposed a moratorium on most types of bottle stores in North Dunedin, a requirement for alcohol management plans for off-licences, and the requirement for a certificate from the DCC planning department for off-licences.

New Zealand's two supermarket giants, Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs, as well as six other parties, appealed those parts of the policy to the ARLA and won.

The ARLA ruled parts of the council's policy were unreasonable and there was no evidence they would reduce alcohol-related harm.

Mr Cull, speaking at a council committee meeting earlier this month, said the process had been "a farce" and put commercial interests before communities.

"If you were cynical, you would say they have been set up to fail," he said.

Yesterday, he said he was pleased to "finally" have a policy approved after "a long and involved process".

"We had hoped to bring in strong local measures which would tackle [alcohol-related harm] head on, but unfortunately some of our initiatives weren't accepted.

"This policy will make a difference, but it would have been great if we could have gone further."

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