Well as I mentioned in an earlier post, unfortunately under current legislation in NZ, the LLA can only consider applications based upon the context of the Liquor Act., the result an off-licence granted.
Approval has been given for an off-licence alcohol business to open in Silverstream, despite the Liquor Licensing Authority recognising “clear evidence that public antipathy to the proposal was endemic”.
Mrs Patel is doing no wrong under this act, and as such has made a consideration for her licence application by closing her shop doors in the period raised by objectors, something she did not have to do, but no doubt to appease those greatly concerned.
The Judge as I mentioned was faced with the context of the law, and while aware of objections I believe had no other position available than to grant the application with provisos of the applicant, that is closing in the period she mentioned. He has a number of discretionary conditions he can put on the application as well. The Police and other agencies are also tied by the fact that the applicant is doing no wrong in applying and not breaking any rules, just applying for a commercial licence to sell liquor as is allowed in NZ.
“It is our view that we have no option other than to grant the application. The company fulfils all the criteria …
“However, we do have the right to fix the days and hours of trade … we believe that we have a duty to take into account the likely impact of this new business on the neighbourhood. In doing so we must consider the effect on young people who are attending the nearby schools,” Judge Unwin’s decision says.
The fault is fact lies with current legislation that does not take into consideration public concerns around liquor distribution, and the current backlash against liquor outlets that has increased in recent times. New legislation is before Parliament in May next year I think, to change the context of the act, but that could take several months knowing legalisation.
Judge Unwin acknowledged the community response and the objectors presenting “as a cohesive body who were very concerned about what they saw as a detrimental impact that the proposal would have on the current village culture of Silverstream”.
The “close knit and engaged community did not want the proposal to proceed”.
“The impact of the evidence was such that the application might well have been refused, had there been the power to do so,” Judge Unwin’s decision says.
“However, the application has to be determined on the criteria set out in the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, and not on the wish of the people. The fact that a new bottle store is unwelcome in a community is not a ground for refusing to grant a licence.”
Take heed that the Police are actively managing bad outlets to combat problems in this area, very strongly in the Hutt Valley. If you are caught selling to underaged or other infringements under the act it is highly unlikely your licence will not be renewed. Unfortunately current crap legislation opened the gate to the growth of suburban liquor outlets, without input from the community. We were suppose to be a mature nation around liquor consumption. The concession over the opening hours does go some way to meeting Silverstream community concerns, but I doubt strongly with legislation akin to Pokies licences, which is advocated in liquor discussion document that this outlet would have gone ahead. Timing is everything.