Liquor applicant told to 'pay attention'

A district licensing committee should not have to ''fill the holes'' left by an applicant who failed to provide the required information, a hearing was told in Queenstown yesterday.

Alastair Sherriff, counsel for Queenstown Lakes district licensing inspector Sian Swinney, told an Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (Arla) appeal hearing it was reasonable for the council's licensing committee to expect liquor licence applicants to ''pay attention'' to regulations.

Queenstown's Camp St Night 'n Day lost its off-licence last December after the committee turned down its owner's application for a renewal of its off-licence on the grounds it was a convenience store, not a grocery store.

The shop had held an off-licence since 2008, but had been operating under a temporary authority since Alan Garrick bought the store last April.

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, an off-licence can only be issued for grocery stores.

Mr Garrick's counsel, Michael Walker, said the committee declined a reasonable application for an adjournment.

In doing so it ''ignored what the law says is a mandatory consideration'' - the shop's sales revenue data.

His client had made an ''honest mistake'' by assuming one month's sales revenue figures was sufficient, if extrapolated over 12 months.

Although Mr Garrick was able to get a further five months' figures, he had not obtained sales figures from the previous owner.

''The hearing should never have proceeded if the six months of figures provided had not been sufficient,'' Mr Walker said. Mr Walker said.

But it had proceeded, and the committee relied on the store's 24/7 trading hours as the ''primary factor'' in determining it was a convenience store.

Mr Sherriff said there had been no basis for an adjournment, and a ''harsher'' committee would not have even proceeded with the hearing when it learned annual sales figures had not been provided.

Mr Garrick had also failed to provide a comprehensive list of the goods on sale, broken down into categories, as required by the regulations.

''If you don't help yourself, why should you expect the licensing committee to fill the holes you have left?''

The committee also had the discretion to take account of factors such as the store's size, layout and appearance in deciding whether it was a grocery or convenience store.

The appeal was heard by Arla chairman Judge Kevin Kelly and member Ross Miller, who reserved their decision.

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