End the monopoly

The Herald reports:

A group of West Aucklanders have launched an online petition to challenge the monopoly that prevents local residents buying wine or beer at supermarkets.

West Auckland Licensing Trust Action Group (WALTAG) spokesman Nick Smale said the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts had held a monopoly over hotels, taverns and bottle stores in West Auckland since the 1970s. Residents were missing out due to the lack of competition in the area.

“The trusts have not kept up with the changing tastes of West Aucklanders and are not equipped to meet the needs of a modern and increasingly cosmopolitan city.

“There’s a distinct lack of local options for entertainment all over West Auckland. Many of us want to support local businesses, including bars but we don’t have the venues – or many choices. People end up traveling into the city or elsewhere to spend their money.”

Smale said it had been 15 years since residents last voted, and he believed a referendum was needed ahead of the next local body elections.

“We need 15 per cent of voters in the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts areas to sign the petition – that’s about 28,000 people. If we can achieve this it will force a referendum and allow West Aucklanders to have their say.”

Monopoly licensing trusts are a failed experiment that almost all of NZ has ditched.

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