More eyes on liquor applications

Notices like this one in the Blue Drops bottle store window and newspaper advertising, are not the only way Waipā residents can find out about liquor applications.

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority has been told there is now greater media interest in the Waipā District Licensing committee’s activities.

It was an obvious reference to The News’ reporting in the last year.

In his annual report to the authority, Compliance manager Karl Tutty reported the committee granted 12 new liquor licenses and nine renewals in the financial year ended June 30.

The site for the new Blue Drops bottle store

One of the new licences was for the Blue Drops bottle store in Cambridge which The News reported on extensively last year after it was revealed the application went unnoticed when it was advertised in a rival newspaper neighbours did not see.

The application was approved by the committee in December with strict conditions after The News readers responded with concerns about a ninth bottle store opening in the central business district. The bottle store has yet to open.

Tutty told Waipā District councillors this week the licensing committee was trying to do more to let the public know about applications.

The statutory requirements are two advertisements in a newspaper circulating in the area and a notice on the premises.

“We’re looking to make all our applications more visible.”

Hopefully it would increase the circulation and discussion around applications, he said.

“We’re looking to make all our applications more visible.”

“The number of applications that receive objections from members of the public or reporting agencies remain very small, but is increasing, and there is some evidence that objectors are becoming more organised.

“The use of social media to ‘rally support’ for objections is becoming more evident, but these often fail to materialise into formal objections or do not meet the Act’s criteria for objections,” said Tutty.

The licensing committee was forced into running its hearings remotely because of Covid 19 traffic light settings.

“As a result, hearings were advertised, and links sent to interested parties and, in some cases, live streamed. The media, in particular, appreciated this option.”

The council recently endorsed a request to promote a full review of the seven-year old Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

Jim Mylchreest

Mayor Jim Mylchreest thanked Tutty for his report saying it went to Wellington and “into a large black hole” because the council never got any feedback.

Waipā’s District Licensing Committee is chaired by commissioner Sara Grayson and includes deputy chair Cr Marcus Gower and members Ross Murphy, Patsi Davies, Michael Cameron, Roy Johnstone and John Gower.

Its purpose is to consider and determine applications for licences, manager’s certificates, renewal of licenses and manager’s certificates, temporary authorities and other matters pursuant to section 187 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

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