Off-licence decision backed

An off-licence application for a Glenorchy store was the most "conservative and restrained'' seen by a hearing panel under present legislation, a judge says.

Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (Arla) chairman Judge Kevin Kelly said he was satisfied the Queenstown Lakes district licensing committee correctly applied the law when it granted the licence to Mrs Woolly's General Store last November.

In his decision, released last month, Judge Kelly dismissed an appeal of the committee's decision by Glenorchy resident Nikki Gladding at an Arla hearing in June.

Store owner Glenorchy Marketplace said in its application it would stock a range of six to eight Otago wines and a similar number of craft beers.

The application was not opposed by the police, Ministry of Health or the district alcohol licensing inspector.

Section 34 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 requires that an applicant must not be involved in any of a list of businesses which includes convenience stores.

At June's hearing, Ms Gladding's legal counsel, Peter Egden, argued the committee had been wrong to conclude Mrs Woolly's was not a convenience store.

Granting the off-licence would also lead to an increase in alcohol-related harm in the township.

Judge Kelly said the authority was satisfied Mrs Woolly's was not a convenience store for the purposes of the Act.

It agreed with Glenorchy Marketplace counsel Richard Cunliffe there was no evidence alcohol-related harm would increase in the township. Such harm was unlikely because of the store's limited opening hours and the range of alcohol sold.

Referring to the lack of objections to the off-licence application, Judge Kelly said there was a "relatively high threshold to be met by objectors in order to displace the absence of concerns by the reporting agencies''.

The authority agreed with the committee when it said it was "unaware of a more restrained and conservative licence application that has come before us since the Act came into force nearly five years ago''.


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