Wellington Scoop

Newtown residents to fight new liquor store, close to three playgrounds

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.

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  1. The City is Ours, 29. November 2012, 1:00

    Why did the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre not advise the people of Newtown about opposing the application for an off license known as Countdown, soon to be opened at John Street? Aforementioned liquor outlet will have a far greater impact on nearby residents and the community at large for the following reasons;

    a. Being a big chain it has the ability to buy bulk and sell at rock bottom prices creating unhealthy competition.
    b. It has drive-in facilities for the ease of purchasing liquor.
    c. It harbours liquor lords under their umbrellas.

    Newtown is well and truly saturated by not one but three major off license liquor premises, but is the NCCC intending to oppose the off license for Countdown when it comes up for renewal in January/February 2015?

  2. Anna Costley, 29. November 2012, 9:38

    Thanks for your comment.

    As a community centre, we see our role as responding to community-identified needs, and working with existing groups and agencies to support positive change in the community. In both the two instances when we have facilitated oppositions to off-license liquor outlets, it has been in response to local community members bringing their concerns to us.

    We were not approached by locals in the instance of the Countdown liquor license. However, I can certainly understand your concerns – we agree that Newtown doesn’t need another major off-license operating! Of course we’ll be happy to provide you, and the community, with information regarding opposing that license renewal in 2015.

  3. The City is Ours, 30. November 2012, 15:33

    Letting Countdown slip through the net has been disappointing for all concerned and allows the next generation to continue in the belief that alcohol is a necessity of life being liberally on display in food stores. Alcohol consumption delivers some 3000 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome babies in New Zealand each year. http://health.yahoo.net/health/fetal-alcohol-syndrome#Symptoms

  4. Dave, 4. December 2012, 21:50

    Get real people. Have just returned from the south of France and seen no drunks in 6 weeks. First day back in town and there’s a drunk Maori at the bus stop in Courtenay Place hassling women at 5pm. It’s not the alcohol folks, it’s the Kiwi attitude towards drinking it and ignorance of how to consume it responsibly. What I really enjoyed was the view from our central city apartment – an adult men’s club in between a school for girls and a church – and seeing how everyone tolerated each other and displayed respect especially when different groups of users collided. Personally, I’m glad Countdown and it’s good range of south African wines is closer than Kilbirnie. If folks can’t handle booze or the thought of it, they should let others who can enjoy their life without being moaning killjoys.

  5. The City is Ours, 6. December 2012, 0:24

    Supermarkets are great, Luke Schepen of Countdown told me they have an emergency plan for when food needs to be distributed fairly in case of a disaster like Christchurch and to those affected most by it.