Liquor store given time to meet promise

The Liquor Shop in North Rd. Photo Gerard O'Brien
The Liquor Shop in North Rd. Photo Gerard O'Brien
A North Dunedin liquor store owner has been given three months to ''demonstrate his commitment'' to alcohol rules in a case expected to set a precedent for the sale of alcohol in the student area.

Public Health South, police and a licensing officer will be doing spot checks on The Liquor Shop, in the Northeast Valley shopping centre, to make sure it lives up to a promise to be a ''high-end'' liquor store.

That follows a decision by a Dunedin district licensing committee to adjourn a hearing until October 6, to allow the owner to prove he will keep
the store as he has promised.

Preet Minhas, formerly of Christchurch, applied for a new off-licence for The Liquor Shop in North Rd, which he bought and has operated since earlier this year on a temporary authority under the conditions of the existing licence.

The application and Mr Minhas' suitability to hold a licence were challenged at the hearing last week by Dunedin police, the liquor licensing officer and Public Health South.

It was also opposed by the University of Otago, and Knox and Salmond student halls.

Under the original licence, Mr Minhas was required to run a ''high-priced'' store, with RTDs available but not promoted.

Spirits would be available, but would priced generally beyond the means of the student population, and wine would generally be more expensive than at the nearby New World supermarket.

The conditions were put in place by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Agency last year when it granted the existing licence in the spirit of the
then incoming Act.

Committee chairman Colin Weatherall said the decision was an important early test of new alcohol laws, and could set a precedent.

But last week's hearing was told by Sergeant Ian Paulin, of Dunedin, he had seen 21 different brands of RTD in the front window.

Medical officer of health Dr Keith Reid had similar concerns, and said the area, near the University of Otago, had a history of inappropriate and
excessive alcohol consumption.

Yesterday, the committee released a reserved decision adjourning the hearing.

Despite the concerns, it believed ''a reasonable approach'' would be to allow the applicant time to demonstrate his commitment to establishing
the store in line with the guidelines.

Cr Weatherall said yesterday no decision had been made yet ''on the basis that we were unhappy in a number of areas''.

The adjournment gave Mr Minhas time to show he could run the business ''away from low-level pricing and away from RTDs and all that sort of

Police, Public Health South and the council licensing officer would do random inspections, and the committee would make a site visit in that

They would report to the committee when it reconvened on October 6.

Mr Minhas said the decision was ''not against us''.

The store would be targeting ''high-end'' customers.

''There won't be any issue after that.

''I don't see any problem coming up''

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