Alcohol - Regulations & Safety Tips

10 December 2012

Debate in Parliament continues this week on the Alcohol Reform Bill, which could have a significant impact on Wellington.

Southern Cross staff members take their responsibilities seriously

Southern Cross staff members take their responsibilities seriously

One proposal is the requirement for councils to develop a local alcohol policy. It could include where licensed venues are allowed to be situated, and set maximum trading hours and license conditions such as a one-way door policy after certain hours.

Councils will also be able to apply different rules to different parts of the city.

Proposed changes to liquor bylaws could mean that a high level of alcohol-related crime and disorder might have to happen in an area before a liquor ban could legally be introduced.

At the moment, there's a 24-hour liquor ban in:

  • the central city
  • Aro Valley
  • Central Park
  • Mount Victoria lookout
  • Oriental Bay
  • Mount Cook
  • Newtown.

For many Wellingtonians, part of the attraction of living here is the city's nightlife. Events and festivals also draw people to our city. The only problem is, alcohol can also be harmful.

The Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant on Abel Smith Street is well aware of this. And it has paid off - the bar has just been named among the top five garden bars in the world by London's Metro magazine.

Owner Gary Clarke says the award came completely out of the blue, but it was not surprising considering how hard the staff work.

"They take their responsibilities as host very seriously," says Gary.

"We always encourage guests to eat and get involved in activities the Cross provides. We don't discount drinks but have food specials and provide an extensive menu so that food is available for all occasions."

Before developing an alcohol policy, the Council is working on an alcohol management strategy for Wellington. The strategy will:

  • consider how establishments and events contribute to the city's economy and nightlife
  • look at liquor bans, liquor licensing hours and conditions for venues
  • look at alcohol-related impacts on safety, crime and hospital admissions.

Meanwhile, we've surveyed 1,000 Wellingtonians on their views, and will consult more widely next year.