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Thursday
Dec192013

Alcohol Hours

There were several impasioned public forum submissions from various groups who were concerned that hours would be increased rather than reduced under the LAP (Local Alcohol Policy) that was decided at yesterday's meeting. Most appeared to favour 9am to 9pm for off-licence, and slammed any suggestion of an increase in existing hours. Police Senior Sergeant Shields was most persuasive in describing an increasing problem in this town, though arrests are down. People are driving form Huaraki after 9pm to purchase here. He made a dramatic entrance having just arrested a drunk (and resistant!) female outside an off-license (at 9am!).

In the end, the decision was made as follows: Note that these vary substantially from the recommendations.

Off-Licence - 7am until 9pm (no grace period)

On-Licence - 7am until 1am (with half hour grace)

This in effect removes any special conditions for the Christmas-New Year period. 

Both motions were moved by Peter French, and in the end relief and unanimity all round. In other words - 'good sense' prevailed, and although there will be concern in some quarters at the 7am opening hour, and failure to follow through on dropping the closing time to 9pm, these moves were unlikely to get up with those around the table appearing to favour 'personal responsibility' in true 'blue' fashion.

Tony Brljevich indicated support early for 9am to 9pm, but soon fell into line. He often shows an independent frame of mind, but fails to follow through.  

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

The ability for a Cafe to sell Wine Beer Spirits &c is something attached to it's opening hours and the purpose of 7am opening is to allow a cafe which happens to be licenced to open for breakfast. It also allows a dairy, which happens to have a wine licence to open at 7am. Few drink booze with breakfast, and the occasional wino may get started with a bottle of port at 7am. In the case of the cafe the odd Bloody Mary is not going to cause any harm, and in the case of the wino's, access to booze is not the problem. 9pm closing for off licences means the supermarkets can run til 9pm without having to fence off the liquor section. They tend not to sell the RTD's that problem drinkers consume. In a holiday location the late night convenience store catering for people who arrive late is an obvious case for later hours. Opening hours for bars and clubs may be 1am but most shut earlier. Problem drinkers of all ages tend to buy the strongest product at the cheapest price, and a whole industry has grown up catering to this market. Well meaning do-gooders have long sought to control hours of availability, while totally ignoring the significant groups of alcohol dependent people who drink until their benefit runs out, then line up for the free food at the church. If the do gooders put as much time and energy into the rehabilitation of some of the dero's, campaigning for higher taxes on RTD's, creating work schemes for the huge number of beneficiaries in Thames and Coromandel, and running alcohol awareness programmes for young people, we may make some progress in this area. Yes there is a conflict here between the tourist trade and the problem drinkers. That tourist trade will be our sole income earner for some time to come. The only group with a common sense approach is the Salvation Army and if you tipped the Salvo's a few bob for Christmas you may be doing something towards solving the problems rather then the symptoms.
Locals will be amazed at the number of people sleeping rough in and around Thames. Between 30 and 50 at the moment. seems they come for the holidays!

December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Jeffares

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