Pirongia bar licence denied

Pirongia’s Five Stags is losing its licence from May 19.

The announcement was made on the Waipā District Council website this week.

The News understood the licence for the Five Stags in Pirongia was about to be suspended when we asked questions on the day of a Waipā District Licensing Committee hearing on February 2.

We were aware the restaurant/bar had failed a Controlled Purchase Operation late last year but we did not have confirmation so we requested the agenda papers.

Waipā’s communications department told The News later that day there was some confidential information contained in the papers and under legal advice it would be processed as a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request.

That would give the committee – which is an independent body that receives administrative support from the council – 20 working days to respond – a date in early March.

Roy Pilott

The News editor Roy Pilott said the Act could be used to delay responses to topical news issues – the opposite of what it was established for.

“It is frustrating to drive a story, be told to wait up to 20 working days for an answer and then see the organisation we have asked break the story on their own website,” he said.

“This is a story in the public interest. Red Stags was a liquor establishment which was found to have sold alcohol to a minor. We have reported in the past when Waipā’s alcohol compliance manager has been critical of aspects of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act in submissions to regulatory bodies and we have supported his call for greater media interest,” said Pilott.

The council does not usually report licensing committee decisions – they appear on the New Zealand District Licensing committee’s site – but ran the story on its website and issued a media release when the full decision was released on Monday.

The News has been following the issue since the restaurant/bar applied for a renewal of its on and off licence in February last year and asked questions when the hearing in September was abandoned.

Concerns were raised about where alcohol was being sold on the site and that the company, Night Pearl, was the subject of a negative Employment Relations Authority ruling.

In its published decision on Monday the Liquor Licensing Committee said it considered Night Pearl under the management and control of Nong Fu was not a suitable entity to hold an on-licence. She had earlier abandoned an off licence application.

Pirongia’s Five Stags

 

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