MP unfit to run a pub

Stuff reported:

The NZ First MP behind a “values” bill which could expel migrants was once judged unfit to run pubs because of his criminal record.

Clayton Mitchell wants new migrants to sign up to a cultural “code of conduct” that includes a commitment not to campaign against the legality of alcohol.

Mitchell is a former publican – but his licence to run a bar was cancelled after a series of incidents. They included a suspended prison sentence for assault – which a judge called an act of serious violence – and a dangerous driving conviction.

An assault which involves serious violence is not a good thing.

Two years later, Mitchell won back his certificate –  supported by a reference from former police officer Brad Shipton, who was subsequently disgraced over a rape conviction.

Brad Shipton as a character reference – yeah, nah.

The second term MP initially didn’t want to be interviewed by Stuff. “Is this one of your dirty little stories? You better get your facts right, because I tell you what, you better get your facts right or you’ll get yourself in a hell of a lot of trouble,” he said.

This is not the recommended response for MPs, when media ask them about their background.

In a subsequent response to emailed questions, however, he acknowledged:

* A conviction of assault with intent to injure in what a judge described as an “act of serious violence on your part.”
* A conviction for dangerous driving.
* A conviction for a “lock-in” at one of his bars – allowing customers to drink outside of the licensed hours.

A pattern?

Mitchell, 46, didn’t attend the 1998 hearing that saw his general manager’s certificate cancelled by the the Liquor Licensing Authority. He was in Australia – and his absence was heavily criticised by the authority.

He’d been running Straight Shooters bar, on Tauranga’s Wharf Street. Local police – unhappy after a string of late-night incidents – asked the authority to cancel his general manager’s certificate on the grounds: “That the conduct of the manager is such as to show that he is not a suitable person to hold the certificate.”

The bar sounded rather interesting. A previous story reported:

Before entering politics, Mitchell made local headlines in December 2009 when his Hamilton bar, the Bahama Hut, was forced to close for a week because of two promotions – Funtastic Fridays and Super Saturdays – that gave punters unlimited drinks for a six-hour period for as little as $39.

There was also some controversy over leprechaun-curling competitions at another of his pubs, the Mount Mellick, where a vegetable oil-covered dwarf would be propelled along a 6m polythene sheet.

Very insensitive of him to label a dwarf a leprechaun. They’re very different species.

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