Alcohol Policy and Licensing Changes

Central Auckland has a vibrant entertainment and hospitality scene – but there can be a dark side to Auckland’s CBD. The central city area has a reputation for suffering from alcohol related violence and crime. Next year, Auckland Council has a chance to make the city a safer place to enjoy a night out, and to make changes in the drinking behaviour that creates problems in the CBD. 

From the end of 2014, Council’s Local Alcohol Policy will bring into force more restricted trading hours for bars and alcohol trading in the CBD, and provide better licensing controls and management. Council’s Policy will add to the nation-wide legislative changes which will come into effect this coming December 2013. In a preliminary Council discussion document, it’s been proposed that CBD bars could stay open until 4am, although suburban bars would be required to close at 1am. Police oppose the idea, believing that it’s likely to encourage drinkers to migrate into the city. 

They’d prefer to see CBD bars closing at 3am, with a one-way-door policy in place from 1am, to prevent an influx of drinkers into the city. Off-licenses including supermarkets will also have their hours restricted, with the goal of reducing the amount of alcohol consumed on inner city streets, and the amount of late night "pre-loading” before entering bars. Heart of the City agrees that this is a once-in-a-generation chance to make real change to the drinking culture that has a big impact on the city, and we’ll be submitting in support of clear and effective management of liquor licensing. Community groups as well as stakeholders will be invited to comment on the changes before the new Council makes a decision next year. We’ll bring you updates on this important debate as Council begins a wide consultation process.