Actually Councils are the farce

The ODT reports:

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has taken another swipe at the country’s approach to local alcohol policies, saying the system is ”a farce” that puts commercial interests before communities.

He was commenting as councillors received an annual report from the Dunedin District Licensing Committee, covering its work for the year to June.

The report noted the council’s watered-down local alcohol policy has been referred back to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) for approval.

The policy was stripped of key changes earlier this year after being successfully appealed by a group including supermarket chains and liquor stores, leaving only uncontested aspects of the policy to be rolled out in Dunedin.

Mr Cull, speaking at yesterday’s meeting, said he wanted to reiterate the approach to local alcohol policies (LAPs) nationally effectively put commercial interests ahead of community wellbeing.

The burden of proof was on councils to prove their policies would reduce alcohol-related harm, despite an earlier royal commission having already identified the factors exacerbating that harm, he said.

What Cull doesn’t like is the law requires that little thing called evidence. He thinks Councils should have the power to impose whatever restrictions the politicians like, regardless of evidence.

If you want to stop mums or dads being able to buy a bottle of wine at a supermarket at 9.30 pm while they do their weekly groceries shop, you have to have evidence that being able to buy wine from a supermarket at that time causes harm.

Councils have lost most of the appeals because either to Councillors or staff have ignored the law. They’re blaming the law, but they should blame themselves.

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