The liquor licensing authority in South Auckland says communities have very little power to stop bottle stores opening in their neighbourhoods.
Some residents in the suburb of Clendon have been angered that a liquor licence has been granted for what had been a fruit shop.
Licensing inspector Paul Radich says, even if the community had protested, there is nothing under the law to stop the store opening.
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says says communities need a greater say in what liquor stores are allowed in their neighbourhoods and hopes planned law reforms will address that.
Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer has recommended giving local councils greater power over who can operate bottle stores and where.
He says he has spoken to frustrated communities that feel disenfranchised by their lack of voice.