The Dom Post editorial:
The eight Wellington city councillors who voted to ban off-licence alcohol sales after 9pm in the hope of curbing the harm from people guzzling booze before they hit the pubs have overlooked one very important point – their targets are not stupid.
Unlike the Councillors arguably!
The move will not stop the pre-loaders from getting a head start before they go out for the night. If anything, it is likely to see them start drinking excessively earlier in the evening, causing more problems than it will solve while penalising every responsible drinker from one end of the city to the other.
Yep, it will. Many don’t start drinking at home until 10 pm or so but if they have to go buy the alcohol before 9 pm, the parties will simply start earlier and last longer.
Councillors who support the proposal, adopted by eight votes to seven, say it will help prevent people pre-loading at home or side-loading – avoiding paying bar prices by ducking out of pubs to buy takeaway alcohol or to consume previously hidden caches.
The desire to tackle those problems is laudable. Pre- and side-loading are undeniably factors in the excessive levels of intoxication that are a blight on Wellington’s nightlife.
However, simply banning off-licence sales after 9pm will solve nothing. It is absurd to believe it will be beyond the wit of those who pre- and side-load to get organised enough to visit off-licences before they have to stop selling alcohol.
Yet, it will disadvantage someone doing their household shopping late at night, who can’t buy a bottle of wine with it.