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The timeline for developing a Christchurch specific Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) will be decided at the full Council meeting on 14 February, following a Planning Committee workshop outlining background work on the policy today.
Councillors must decide if they are happy for a LAP – a provision of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 – to be drafted as far as legally possible this year so that it is ready to notify after 18 December 2013 (a requirement of the legislation).
The Council, through the LAP, will potentially be able to regulate the opening hours for licensed premises, control the location of licensed premises and make re-entry restrictions to bars in the early hours of the morning (one-way door restrictions).
Planning Committee chair Sue Wells says there are implications the Council will need to consider, with local government elections being held in October.
“A new Council will be inheriting the current Council’s decision if the special consultative procedure for the LAP is carried out before the elections. It is not usual process for a Council to develop a policy and not complete the process, but we have to choose to start or do nothing until 2014.
“We know that alcohol is an important issue to the community and we want to make the best decision about whether it is appropriate to develop a policy now or wait until the new Council is in place.”
Strategic Policy Unit Manager Alan Bywater says the policy is an important piece of work through which the Council can regulate specific aspects of liquor licensing. This is one element of a wider range of measures that are required to manage or reduce alcohol-related harm in the city.
“We are already working with key agencies, such as the Medical Officer of Health, the Police and Hospitality New Zealand, to gather information. Forums are also being held with a wider group of stakeholders to discuss the LAP.”
The community will have an opportunity to make submissions on the LAP, in line with legislative requirements.