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Alcohol rules, safer streets

New alcohol laws in force from 7 April 2015 will introduce a one-way-door system between 1am and 3am in pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs in the CBD.
Updated: 2/03/2015 11:14 a.m.

​“Head out early, have a great time, get home safe and sound” is the message behind a one-way-door policy being introduced to city bars.

From Tuesday 7 April people will not be able to leave a bar and come back, or move from bar to bar (club to club, pub to pub) in the central city between 1am and closing time at 3am.

Anyone who is in a bar at that time can stay there until closing, but the new rule aims to put an end to drunken milling around on the streets during the early hours when fights are more likely to break out, along with assaults and other crime.

“We want people to head into town earlier, enjoy a buzzy, vibrant atmosphere, have fun and head home safe and sound, ready to repeat a great social experience in our city,” said Whangarei District Council Group Manager, Mr Paul Dell.  

“There are 15 licensed premises, including 2 restaurants, in the CBD which are subject to the condition.  We want to keep them in business and keep people coming back.  At the same time as we have been working on our liquor licensing in the city we are also working on creating a vibrant after-hours economy in the district.  Lots of places to go and things to do in a happy, safe environment,  are all part of that picture.

Mr Dell said safety has come up as an important value in numerous pieces of consultation with the Whangarei Community, and with other public agencies.

“Our community wants to put an end to the harm, injury, crime and violence that happens when people get drunk and out of control.

“We know that the danger is highest in the hours after midnight, - that’s when emergency services see an increase in people caught up in violence, crime, harm and injury, and alcohol is nearly always a factor. The aim of this policy is to reduce the number of people ‘over drinking’ in this time period, in the CBD.

“Its sole aim is to keep people safe in a situation where they have been (historically) more likely to be harmed.

It’s about Council and the community working together to build a better Whangarei.”

Mr Dell said local businesses had challenged the decision by appealing to the  Alcohol Regulatory Licencing Agency, but the Agency had recently upheld Council’s position.

“We have been working with CBD business people, Hospitality NZ representatives, taxi companies, our own City Safe network, and we will be providing posters and other information for businesses to get the message out there.

“Once the  one-way-door policy is in place it will be subject to weekly analysis and problem solving by a focus group including licensees, Police, health and Council so that any issues can be identified and dealt with immediately.”



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