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Council supports tighter restrictions on bottle stores in the Waikato district

Waikato District Council is supporting tighter restrictions on bottle stores, to help reduce alcohol related harm in its communities. 

The Provisional Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) was adopted by Council on 6 October 2022 and sees a number of changes. 

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

A total of 141 submissions were received, with the majority supporting the changes. 

The policy, last updated in 2016, sets alcohol licensing criteria for when, where and how alcohol is sold across the Waikato district, with the purpose of minimising the harm caused by excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol, as outlined in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. 

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.  

“More than 200 residents shared their feedback as a part of our early engagement for this review, and, of those, more than 80% believed there should be more restrictions on the number of bottle stores in their towns,” says Council Community Safety Manager Sarah Bourke.  

The key changes to the policy are: 

  • Restrictions to standalone bottle stores in some parts of the district; 

  • Prohibiting off-licenses from being able to offer ‘buy now, pay later’ options such as Laybuy and Afterpay; 

  • Removing the provision which prohibits a one-way door condition applying earlier than two hours before the conclusion of the event, for special licenses; 

  • Two new clauses related to remote sales noting when alcohol can be bought online and delivered and who receives the delivery of alcohol. 

  • Wording changes to make it clear where distance requirements apply and to provide clarity around the definition of ‘site’.  

Appeals can only be made by those who submitted as a part of the formal consultation on the draft LAP, as well as NZ Police and medical officers of health who have the statutory right of appeal.  

Appeals must be made to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority by 18 November 2022. If there are no appeals, the LAP will become operative. View the public notice with full details on the appeals process and requirements here.