Half the on-licensed Lower Hutt premises visited in a recent police operation were caught selling alcohol to minors.
Ten premises were visited in Operation Vespa, with five caught breaking the law by selling to under-age patrons.
Sergeant Andrew Smith of Lower Hutt police said the results of the operation were disappointing.
“Only 50 per cent of those tested demonstrated they are conscientious about their obligations under the (Sale of Liquor) Act and serious about protecting our young people from liquor abuse.”
He said some of the breaches carried fines of up to $10,000.
The operation was part of an overall campaign to reduce the incidents of alcohol-related harm in the Hutt Valley, and Mr Smith said there would be more operations in the near future. Earlier operations had resulted in convictions at Eastbourne and NaeNae. Earlier operations show the local police take this facet of liquor licencing seriously.