The role of Regional Public Health Officers and the Police in making neighbours aware of forthcoming alcohol applications in their community is a controversial one. Among the Inner City Wellington Committee there are mixed views on this, which are likely to be replicated among our wider membership.
However, the two recent examples in Wellington raise an important question: what steps has the applicant taken to engage with their community to explain their proposal, listen to the concerns and take steps in their application to mitigate those concerns? If no steps have been taken by the applicant, how much weight is being placed on the absence by the District Licensing Committee? We would expect a significant weight given the objects of the Act.
The applicant in the Newtown case says it will bring extra income into an area that lacks it. It is hard to see how this will occur beyond the owner’s own income, and potentially staff wages if the business is large enough.
What is certain is that it is the community, Police and medical services that carry the cost and impacts of any alcohol-related harm that arises from increased availability of alcohol.
Geraldine Murphy, Deputy Chair, Inner City Wellington