14 May 2015

Retail group considers alcohol policy appeal

7:10 am on 14 May 2015

A body that represents supermarket operators is considering appealing Auckland Council's draft Local Alcohol Policy.

Countdown Takapuna

Countdown - Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The council yesterday voted to push ahead with its plan, which, if implemented, would mean off-licences would only be able to sell alcohol from 9am to 9pm, down from the current hours of 7am to 11pm.

Retail NZ public affairs general manager Greg Harford, who the owner of the Countdown supermarkets referred Radio New Zealand to for comment, said the group could potentially appeal the proposal.

He said it originally submitted for the hours to remain as they were.

"At this stage we need to get hold of the final decision, look at what the council has decided, and make some decision from there how we proceed."

The other major supermarket operator in Auckland, Foodstuffs, said it was currently considering its position.

Hospitality NZ, which represents bars, restaurants and liquor outlets, said it was pleased the same rules would apply to bottle stores and supermarkets.

"We couldn't really see that there should be any difference between them," the group's Auckland branch president, Kevin Schwaff, said.

He also said that the decision on reducing the hours was reasonable.

However, Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer said supermarkets should be treated differently to bottle stores because, in general, they monitored their alcohol sales better.

"There should have been a differential between supermarkets and bottle stores and the hours that they're allowed to operate."

More than 2600 submissions have been considered on Auckland's Local Alcohol Policy.

The provisional policy will now be notified. Anyone who made submissions on the policy can appeal to the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority within 30 days.

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