24 Sep 2009

Early closing planned for suburban Auckland bars

12:49 pm on 24 September 2009

Proposed liquor law changes that would force hundreds of Auckland bars and restaurants to close early will put many out of business, the Hospitality Association believes.

The Auckland City Council wants licensed premises outside the central business district and entertainment precincts to close by 11pm, instead of 1am or 3am.

City development committee chairperson Aaron Bhatnager says the move is aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm and there is widespread community support.

But Hospitality Association northern regional manager Sarah Tucker says a huge number of premises stand to suffer and business owners have told her they would have to close altogether if the law is passed as it stands.

One of Auckland's oldest pubs says the proposed changes would kill its business.

The Kings Arms Tavern has been open since 1870 but owner Maureen Gordon says if the law is passed it could be forced to close down.

Ms Gordon says the Kings Arms has lots of big music acts, but most patrons do not arrive until after 10pm.

Auckland police support the proposals. Central area commander, Andrew Coster, says officers constantly have to deal with the aftermath of late night drinking.

Mr Coster says the Law Commission is recommending far stronger controls than the council has suggested.

Public submissions close in October.