Pirongia licence declined

Update 19 February 3pm – Waipā District Council media release

An application for a renewal of an on-licence at the Five Stags Restaurant and Bar in Pirongia has been declined.

The failed bid to renew the licence means alcohol cannot be served on site from May 19 this year. The operator, Night Pearl Ltd, has already surrendered its off-licence.

The decision released today was made by the Waipā District Licensing Committee. The committee is an independent body appointed under the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. Council provides administrative support to the committee.

Night Pearl applied in February 2023 to renew the licence with a hearing held in September 2023. At that hearing the District Licensing Committee heard there were anomalies in the area the operator believed were licenced. The licensee was told the front and left side outside area could not be used to consume alcohol until a licence variation was granted for those areas.

The committee was also made aware the operator had been ordered to pay more than $21,000 in compensation by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), following the unjustified dismissal of an employee.

The District Licensing Committee deferred the matter until February this year so the applicant could provide more information. However, at its hearing earlier this month, the committee heard the licensee had breached licence conditions and the Act since the first hearing.

The committee heard that the licensee continued to use the front and left side outdoor area without an appropriate licence in place until mid-December 2023, had operated with an uncertificated manager on duty, and had failed to maintain the manager’s register.

The committee also heard that during a police-controlled purchase operation, alcohol was sold to a minor who was not asked for age identification and was allowed to sit outside the licenced area to consume the alcohol. The minor was served by a 16-year-old staff member.

In its decision, the committee found the licensee had received help from two licensing inspectors, Police and the secretary of the Waipā District Licensing Committee. However, “there appears to be an ongoing disregard for the assistance given or an inability to understand the obligations of a licensee”.

The committee further found that it was not confident that the licensee understood the obligations of a licensee under the Act or the conditions of the licence. The committee found that renewing the licence would be “contrary to the object of the Act”.

The decision notes that in November last year, police and the licensing inspector applied to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority seeking a licence suspension.

Read the decision.

15 February – An adjourned liquor licence hearing for Five Stags in Pirongia went ahead earlier this month and the liquor licensing authority is using the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (Lgoima) to process The News’ application for more details.

The hearing was to go ahead five months ago but owner Night Pearl (2021) Ltd needed more time to provide supporting information.

The hearing was held in Te Awamutu earlier this month to decide whether to grant an On Licence which would include the outdoor dining areas as part of the restaurant.

The Waipā District Licensing committee – an independent, standalone committee appointed under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act – told The News it wanted to redact (blank out) some “confidential information”  in the papers and to achieve this it would process the request as a “Lgoima”.

The director of the company which owns Five Stags – formerly the Alexandra Hotel – is Yafei Bao of Hamilton who was appointed in September 2021, three months after shareholder Xinyan Luo of China bought the premises.

Bao’s manager’s certificate was renewed last March.

The hotel has a freehold site of over 4000 square metre with a hunting themed bar and restaurant facilities.

Though dating back to 1865, the present hotel was rebuilt following a fire and now has a five-room hotel, dining and bar areas. The restaurant seats 110 people and there are three outdoor bar areas.

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