Alcohol sales: have your say

The Local Alcohol Policy submissions closes at 5pm tomorrow (Friday). This is an important submission to participate in if you care about our businesses and the well-being of our community.

As of January 2023, Te Awamutu and surrounds has 30 On Licences, 15 Off Licences and 20 Club Licences. Waipa has a population density ratio per on-licence of 729 people (Waikato – 1181), off-licence – 1401 (Waikato – 1758) and 1831 (Waikato – 1643) for club licences.

Ange Holt

Most of us enjoy a drink or two and going out for a beer with our mates. We want to conveniently go to places that serve alcohol or we can buy it. We also don’t want to be legislated so tightly that because of a few irresponsible ones the rest of us pay the price.

Unfortunately, as we have just seen in Gisborne there is a dark side to drinking that results too often in premature deaths or serious harm. This is not “their problem”, it does not always occur in one or two demographics or socially deprived areas. It is “always” someone’s family or friend.

As part of a community it is our responsibility to help find a balance, keep businesses prospering and people safe. Have your say and help us provide a fair and safe Local Alcohol Policy for our towns and district.

There is a lot of information available for you to read and make an informed decision. These can be found online.

The Medical Officers of Health recommends to cap numbers of venues, limit the distance between venues (amongst a number of other things). The police would also like to see reduced hours and improved security outside and around venues selling alcohol. The licencing Inspectors are supportive of most of these options to help reduce the harm caused.

I personally support the medical officer’s recommendation for new sites in “Commercial Zones” to have the same requirements as a “Residential Zone”, where new premises selling alcohol cannot be directly beside or behind a daycare, kindy, school, place of worship or any other sensitive site.

Here in Te Awamutu we fought to stop an off-licence going in the current Waitomo site, in front of the Rewi Street Kindy. Fortunately the Presbyterian Church site fits within the 45 degree frontage requirement.

Please make time to read the information and have your say. Know, you do not have to just answer questions that are asked on the submission form; you do not need to answer them at all if you do not want to. There is opportunity for you to raise the issues that you deem important in regard to this policy. You can get a hard copy from the council office or complete it online.

The Te Awamutu and Kihikihi Community Board discussed this policy at their meeting last night (Wednesday) and will make a submission based on the feedback we have received and the information we have been provided with.

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