New figures collected by Regional Public Health suggests benefits from pushing back the cut-off time for selling alcohol to 4am has worn off, with binge-drinkers – university students in particular – back to their old habits.
In other words, as predicted, the change of closing times didn’t work. But instead of admitting this, they claim try more of the same.
Police and Regional Public Health began experimenting in January with supporting new bottle stores in the CBD if they agree to restrict their operating hours and sell “premium” liquor only.
Since then, four licences have been granted to new bottle stores that agree not to sell the cheap stuff, while another existing bottle store has pegged back its hours and promised to deal only in high-quality booze.
Stephen Palmer, a Wellington region medical officer of health, said another bottle store in Cuba St was being encouraged to go down the same path.
The aim was not to run mainstream beer out of town, but to reduce its availability and “nudge” the public towards drinking smaller amounts of more expensive beer and wine, he said.
Palmer put Tui, Lion Red, DB Draught and Heineken in the mainstream category, while the likes of Tuatara and Moa were more at the craft beer end of the spectrum.
This is outrageous. The Police and health officials are now trying to dictate what brands of beer can be sold. I’m a fan of craft beer, but to say you’ll only support granting an alcohol licence to outlets that only stock craft beer is taxpayer funded activism which goes well beyond their statutory role.
Police and Regional Public Health were now opposing all liquor licence applications for “mainstream” bottle stores, he said.
So the NZ Police now want to decide what brands of beer are okay to sell. The Minister should bash the Commissioner ears and warn him that public confidence in the Police will decline, if they continue this social activism.