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Yesterday Council heard a number of submissions to the draft ‘Sale of Liquor’ policy and due to overwhelming public support for leaving the bars open until 3am, decided not to change the closing time but increase monitoring of host responsibility.
Mayor Rick Cooper said the objective of the policy is to promote a safe drinking environment for Taupo district residents and visitors. “The key to this is host responsibility. Bar owners need to ensure that people on their premises don’t get overly intoxicated and if they do, then they need to take action to look after them and get them home safely. There needs to be hot food and coffee available too.”
One of the outcomes of the new policy will be a greater emphasis on enforcing and monitoring host responsibilities and the law. A Council officer will work closely with the Taupo Police inspecting premises to ensure there is food (including hot food) and non-alcoholic beverages available. Extra education, bar and security staff training and general surveillance will also be put in place.
Council considered various proposals for closing bars earlier however after reviewing submissions from the community, agreed with the key reasons to leave it at 3.00am. These included the fact that Taupo is a tourist town, it is well known on the backpacker circuit for having a good nightlife and that a range of events are held here and supporters attending those events are looking for entertainment.
To demonstrate their commitment to reducing alcohol related crime, Council passed an extra resolution to work with the Police, Liquor Licensees and other community partners to implement a plan to reduce alcohol related crime in the Taupo district by 50% by 31 December 2010. Deputy Mayor Christine McElwee said “Taupo District Council will work with the Taupo District Police, the Taupo Safer Community Trust and local liquor licensees to substantially reduce the current unacceptable levels of alcohol related crime in our community.”
Due to potential law changes, the policy will be reviewed again in mid 2010.