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Spacer Spacer SubmissionsLiquor Review 1996

Community Involvement

  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports greater participation by individuals and community organisations in licensing decisions, particularly as regards the impact of licensed premises on local neighbourhoods. Concern has been expressed by some local statutory officers that poor notification and narrow criteria for objection have frustrated and disappointed residents in their locality (Hill & Stewart 1996).
  • Initiatives in both New Zealand and elsewhere have shown how encouraging community involvement in local licensing and well-planned community based programmes can contribute to enforcement and the reduction of alcohol abuse and violence in connection with licensed premises (Homel, Hauritz, Wortley, Clark & Carvolth 1994; Homel & Clark 1993; Stockwell 1993). Such community participation could complement legislative strategies to meet the aims of the Act (Ayres & Braithwaite 1992).
  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports improving the requirements for public notification of an application for a liquor licence to at least match the requirements for public notification under the Resource Management Act. An extention of time for the lodging of objections from 10 to 20 working days would improve the ability of the public to participate.
  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit considers the right of objection as a civil right unconnected with the legal drinking age, and should be an entitlement from age 18. However, as a right of citizenship, objection should be open to any member of the public or community organisation, and not limited as at present.
  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports the inclusion of proximity to a church, hospital or school being grounds in itself for refusal of a licence by the Authority. The word 'immediate' used in the Discussion Document is likely to be interpreted by some as 'immediately adjacent' and should be omitted.
  • The New Zealand legislation as currently written is unusual in the lack of attention given to the community concerns and the impact of licensed premises and their patrons on local neighbourhoods. For example, all the Australian states include 'annoyance or disturbance of the neighbourhood' in grounds for refusal of an application or renewal by the Authority, as well for objection by other parties. In Scotland, where licensing is administered entirely through local Councils, the regulations of the Edinburgh licensing committee allow it to withdraw a licence for 'undue annoyance or inconvenience of residents'. California not only makes 'disturbance of the neighbourhood' grounds for objection, but requires holders of off-licences to be responsible for patron behaviour on adjacent footpaths and carparks.
  • In relation to community concerns and increased availability, it is to be noted that California and Manitoba both limit the concentration of licensed premises in any district. In California, city governments chose either average ratio of alcohol outlets to population or to crime statistics as a criterion for refusing additional licences. While early research showed that outlet density was merely a response to demand, more recent studies have shown the density of outlets has a significant effect on the volume of alcohol sales (Gruenewald et al. 1993).

The effect of outlet density should be able to be considered in the determination of, or planning for, licences.

  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports the inclusion of the above sub-clauses as both criteria fordecision making by the Liquor Licensing Authority and grounds for objection to the grant or renewal of any licencesby statutory officers, community organisations, or members of the public.
  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports greater flexibility in the conditions which may be endorsedon a licence, to meet objections or to resolve problems or potential problems arising in or from licensed premises.Such flexibility may encourage negotiated solutions to grounds for objection from neighbours or community groups.This is discussed further in section 9(b) above, with regard to the role of the Liquor Licensing Authority.
  • The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit supports specific town planning attention being given to the location ofpremises selling alcohol, because of their potential impact on the amenity of both business and residentialneighbourhoods, and on planning for safer communities.
  • The inclusion of the sale of alcohol as a conditional land use under District Plans and the Resource Management Act would increase the opportunities for input from the public into local decision making about the location of licensedpremises in their community and contribute to planning for safer communities.

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