MEDIA RELEASES

Community and DHB lose Appeal against another Bottle Store in Onerahi

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) has dismissed the appeal by Northland DHB and the Onerahi community against the district licensing committee’s decision to grant a new off-licence for a bottle store in Onerahi. This means there will now be four off-licences in this community (in addition to two existing club licences) for a population of around 5700 people.

Northland DHB medical officer of health Dr Clair Mills is disappointed by the decision.

“There is great concern about the levels of alcohol harm in our communities in Northland. Onerahi is one example where the community showed very clearly that they did not want another alcohol outlet. It is unfortunate that our joint appeal was not upheld by ARLA,” she said.

Although alcohol has some social benefits, Northland has a greater proportion of people drinking at harmful levels, and a higher density of alcohol outlets, particularly in more socio-economically deprived areas, than the average in New Zealand. Alcohol-related harm includes, not only violence and injury, it contributes significantly to the higher rates of liver and breast cancers, diabetes and heart disease seen in Northland.

“We provided extensive research evidence, as well as local data showing high levels of alcohol–related harm, from the hospital and emergency department, police statistics and local peoples’ own experiences.

“The process has already been lengthy and expensive for the council, DHB and community, so we will need to carefully consider whether we can take a further case to the High Court,” Dr Mills said.

“I hope that the proposed Local Alcohol Policy (LAP), which proposes no new bottle stores for the defined period of the LAP, is supported by people in Whangarei district. This will reduce the legal processes around alcohol licensing considerably, even if it is too late for the Onerahi community.” 

The LAP will also lay out the maximum opening hours for sales of alcohol.

“I encourage everyone to make the effort to read the draft LAP and make a submission on this very important issue.”

The submission period ends at 4.30pm Friday July 10. The draft policy is on the Whangarei District Council website at: www.wdc.govt.nz



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