The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) welcomes the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss an appeal of the Liquor Licensing Authority’s (LLA) decision to restrict opening hours for licensed premises in Queenstown.
ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan said that the Court of Appeal’s decision was an important one as it supported community say in licensing decisions especially on areas such as opening hours and the availability of alcohol.
In May 2007, the Queenstown Lakes District Council adopted a new liquor licensing policy which clawed back the existing ‘open all hours’ policy to a 4am closing. This followed extensive public consultation. Subsequently, the LLA declined to allow 24 hour trading for either new on-licences or those applying for renewal.
Mr Vaughan said that ALAC supported the LLA’s decision to consider a Council’s liquor policy when making licensing decisions, giving the Authority the power to alter licence conditions to bring them into line with local Councils’ alcohol policies.
He also pointed to the Court of Appeal’s statement in its decision that liquor policies promote consistent decision making, provide guidance to applicants, and allow for wider community input at a broad policy level than is possible when looking at individual licensing applications.
“This decision shows Councils that it is worth the effort to develop local alcohol policies and plans, as their work to balance the needs of the community and the alcohol industry has weight in licensing decisions.
“This Court of Appeal decision now enables the Council to put its community’s wishes about liquor licensing into effect,” Mr Vaughan said.