Press Release – Newtown Community and Cultural Centre
Newtown residents are concerned that a new off-license liquor outlet, proposed to open on Newtown Ave, will cause harm to the community.
“We’ve been contacted by a number of residents concerned about the proposed liquor shop,” says Newtown Community Centre co-ordinator Anna Costley.
“Newtown Liquor Shop” would be open from 9am to 11pm, 7 days a week. The proposed store is within 100m of two existing off-license liquor outlets, and is in close proximity to three public playgrounds.
“New Zealand research shows that a high density of liquor outlets increases alcohol harm in a community,” Ms Costley says. “We have four off-licenses in Newtown already. That’s enough.”
Earlier this year the Newtown community successfully blocked an off-license liquor outlet, after a record-breaking 110 objections were lodged against “Vee’s Liquor Planet,” which proposed to open opposite Newtown School. A petition of 676 signatures was also presented to the Wellington District Licensing Agency.
The owner of Vee’s Liquor Planet withdrew his application following the community outcry, citing a “crisis of conscience”.
“It goes to show what communities can achieve when they work together,” says Ms Costley. “We encourage those who are concerned about this new liquor shop to formally lodge their objections with the DLA.”
Wellington City Councillor Paul Eagle says that while the community was successful in stopping a liquor outlet in the past, it continues to be an uphill battle.
“We shouldn’t have to oppose these liquor outlets year after year. It is totally unfair on communities.”
Changes to the Sale of Liquor Act will give communities a greater voice but are not expected to take effect until August 2013.
“Wellington needs an alcohol management strategy that will address the priorities for managing the supply and consumption of alcohol and bring an end to the current situation facing the people of Newtown” says Councillor Eagle.
Objections to the proposed store must be lodged with the District Licensing Agency by 5pm, Monday 10th December. Any liquor application that receives objections from the public gets forwarded to the national Liquor Licensing Authority, and a public hearing is then held to determine the outcome.