Council agrees to revise alcohol policy in light of Alcohol Authority decision

19 March 2015

Wellington City Councillors agreed at yesterday’s Community, Sport and Recreation Committee meeting not to appeal the recent decision of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority where aspects of Council’s provisional Local Alcohol Policy were upheld.

The Council were asked to reconsider on-license trading hours in the central city, conditions on late trading, density and proximity of premises and automatic triggers for hearings by the District Licensing Committee.

Councillors agreed these issues should be dealt with by taking the necessary time to resubmit an amended Policy in February 2016 that addresses the concerns highlighted.

“We will undertake further research over 2015 on alcohol related offending and use the most up to date local findings, to better inform Wellington’s Local Alcohol Policy”, says Councillor Paul Eagle, Chair, Community, Sport and Recreation Committee.

“The decision to resubmit should not be taken lightly – we need a robust evidence base with good stakeholder engagement and the expectation an amended policy improves decision making on licence applications”, he says.

Wellington City Council is one of the first local authorities to adopt a provisional Local Alcohol Policy with the aim of developing a policy relevant for local conditions within the parameters of the Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Council has worked well with police, health, residents groups and other partners for a smooth transition to the default hours, “We’re hearing from residents and reporting agencies that the central city is discernibly quieter after 4am.

 “We want a full year of data to examine the effects of default hours before we decide the best long-term approach.”

The Council will examine hospitality sector spending trends, including the impacts of revised drink-driving limits, and notes that a recent report showed Retail and Hospitality spending by domestic and international visitors increased by an average of 9.6% in the July to December period (compared to the same period in 2013).

“Our aim is to nurture a responsible drinking culture in Wellington whilst minimising alcohol harm in our community”, says Councillor Eagle.