Local Alcohol Policy 2017

On 5 December 2016 the Waikato District Council resolved to bring the entire Local Alcohol Policy (LAP), with the exception of clauses 4.6, 5.6, and 6.6 relating to maximum trading hours, into force on 1 January 2017.  Clauses 4.6, 5.6 and 6.6 will come into force on 1 April 2017 to provide time for any licensed premises affected by the maximum trading hours provisions to make any necessary operational changes to their businesses.

Background

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act) was enacted by Parliament in December 2012, with the object of reducing alcohol-related harm in New Zealand.

The Act enables any territorial authority to develop a local alcohol policy for its district, and sets requirements for the development of the policy and what it may contain. The policy can influence the location, number and opening hours of on-licences (cafes, bars and taverns), off-licences (bottle stores and supermarkets), club licences (RSA’s, Workingmen’s and sports clubs) and special licences (special events).

Once a Local Alcohol Policy is in place, the District Licensing Committee and Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority must have regard to the policy when making decisions on licence applications.

Waikato District Council Local Alcohol Policy Development

The draft LAP was open for submissions from 21 October to 21 November 2014.

A total of 36 submissions were received that highlighted specific issues with the draft (proposed) LAP and requested various changes be made.

On 26 February 2015, a hearing was held and 14 submitters verbally presented their submissions. Deliberations were then held on 27 February 2015 where Council’s Policy and Regulatory Committee considered all submissions and made a number of changes to the draft (proposed) LAP in response to the issues raised. Council then adopted the Draft Local Alcohol Policy as a provisional local alcohol policy (PLAP) at its meeting on 13 April 2015.

The PLAP was open for appeals to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) from 20 April 2015.  During the appeal period, two appeals were received.  The only grounds on which an element of the PLAP could be appealed against is that it is deemed unreasonable in light of the object of the Act.

Council met with appellants in January 2016 to attempt to gain agreement on appealed policy elements.  As a result of these negotiations changes to some policy elements were agreed and a joint memorandum presented to ARLA at a public hearing at the Hamilton High Court on 7 April 2016 after which a consent order was issued formally referring the agreed elements back to Council to reconsider.

Following a procedure detailed by ARLA the proposed changes were circulated to all submitters who submitted on the provisions proposed to change.  No further appeals were received in respect of the changes.

ARLA considered the amended PLAP in September 2016 and was satisfied that all elements of the policy were reasonable, and it was adopted accordingly.

Council was then required to pass a resolution on when the policy would come into force, and whether parts would come into force at different times.  The Act requires that maximum trading hours provisions come into force no earlier than three months after the required public notice advising the adoption of the policy.  Council resolved on 5 December 2016 to bring the policy into force on 1 January 2017 except for the maximum trading hours provisions which will come into force on 1 April 2017.

Supporting documentation on the policy development:

Key dates

21 October 2014 - Council publically notifies draft LAP

21 November 2014 - Submissions period on draft policy closes

26 February 2015 - Council hears submitters on draft policy                    

20 April 2015 - Council publically notifies Provisional LAP                   

22 May 2015 - Appeal period closes

7 April 2016 - Appeals heard by ARLA                                                                         

30 August 2016 - Amended PLAP resubmitted to ARLA                                        

29 September 2016 - ARLA adopts LAP                                                                          

5 December 2016 - Council resolves to bring LAP into force                            

1 January 2017 - LAP comes into force except for maximum trading hours provisions

1 April 2017 - Maximum trading hours provisions come into force