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Tighter restrictions for bottle stores in the Waikato district – tell us what you think

Waikato District Council is seeking feedback on its draft Local Alcohol Policy.

The policy, last updated in 2016, sets alcohol licensing criteria for when, where and how alcohol is sold across the Waikato district. The policy is now due for review.

The purpose of the Local Alcohol Policy is to minimise the harm caused by excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol, as outlined in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. The Local Alcohol Policy must be considered by licensing bodies when they make decisions about alcohol licensing applications.

Under the proposed policy, there will be no new standalone bottle stores in Tuakau, Te Kauwhata, Huntly, Ngāruawāhia and Raglan, and in areas where there is social deprivation.

Council began reviewing its policy earlier this year and held a number of workshops with key stakeholders. The public were also invited to have their say as part of Council’s early engagement.

“Due to the importance of reducing alcohol related harm in our communities, we asked for feedback as part of our early engagement,” says Waikato District Council Community Safety Manager, Sarah Bourke. “More than 200 submissions were received and the majority of submitters felt there was either the right number of bottle stores in their town, or too many bottle stores. More than 80% believed there should be more restrictions on the number of bottle stores in their towns.”

Elected members also expressed concern with the number of bottle stores and the potential for that number to grow.

The key changes to the policy are:

  • Introducing restrictions to standalone bottle stores in some parts of the district
  • Prohibiting off-licenses from being able to offer a ‘buy now, pay later’ option
  • Providing further clarity on requirements for certain distances between proposed licensed premises and existing facilities or other licensed premises
  • Removing the provision which prohibits a one-way door condition applying earlier than two hours before the conclusion of the event, for special licenses
  • The addition of two new clauses for remote sales – including when alcohol can be bought online and delivered, and who receives the delivery of alcohol.

Consultation opened today (10 August) and will close on 11 September. Council will then hold hearings and deliberations in late September, following the public consultation period.

For more information and to give your feedback on the draft Local Alcohol Policy, visit our Shape Waikato website.