Firm seeks permission to deliver drinks

A precedent-setting hearing — the first of its kind in New Zealand — will determine whether a company can be permitted to provide "instant" home deliveries of alcohol.

Drinks on Q, a spin-off of Food on Q, established about four years ago in the resort by Daniel Tairoa and Daniel Sykes, has applied for a "remote sellers off-licence" — the first application of its kind in the district.

While the latter business delivered food from about 70 restaurants in the Wakatipu, excluding Arrowtown, it could not deliver alcohol, something for which the owners believed there was a demand.

Drinks on Q would operate as a separate business, from noon to 10pm daily, through which alcohol would be ordered via a website and delivered in 30 to 60 minutes.

Locally produced wine and craft beer would be on offer — spirits, RTDs and kegs would not.

Deliveries would not be made to public places, and the delivery driver would check the identification of the person who ordered the alcohol and assess their sobriety before completing the transaction.

Both Public Health South (PHS) and police in Queenstown had initially opposed the application, which was heard yesterday, but removed their opposition after the proposal was amended to address concerns.

Stephanie Bekhuis-Pay, of PHS, said initial concerns had included an increased risk of harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption, increased pre-loading — a known problem in Queenstown — and a risk of increased family harm.

Mrs Bekhuis-Pay believed that if appropriate conditions were included in the licence, the application could be granted.

Mr Tairoa, a director of Bungalow bar, in Queenstown; Lalaland Lounge Bar, in Wanaka; and Botanic, in Christchurch, said he was "thankful" for that.

"We think we’ve worked together with the authorities to put a pretty robust proposal [together] in terms of how the process would work.

"We think that the benefits of such a service for the majority of people who are coming to Queenstown and who are experiencing a service that is commonplace around the world and New Zealand would outweigh the risks."

However, District Licensing Committee chairman Judge Bill Unwin took issue with the service being common.

He understood it was "the first case of its type ever to be determined [by a hearing] in NZ".

In response, Mr Tairoa pointed to Give Me Bread, a similar service — which also delivers food and prescriptions — which started in Christchurch about two years ago and expanded into Auckland last April.

Its application was not contested.

Mr Sykes said the pair understood a similar licence had not been granted in the district before and it was "not something we undertake lightly".

"It’s not just another moneymaker. It’s a service people want and have requested from us."

The committee reserved its decision.


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