Press Release – Hospitality New Zealand
A Research New Zealand survey shows that a strong majority of Wellingtonians enjoy and value the central city hospitality and entertainment scene, and do not support undue restrictions on well-run licenced premises.
The Wellington branch of Hospitality New Zealand, in conjunction with the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct a wide ranging survey on public perceptions of the Wellington scene. The resulting survey in May 2013 had 1,189 respondents.
Jeremy Smith, President of the Wellington Branch of Hospitality New Zealand, said the two organisations wanted “a credible snapshot of how Wellingtonians saw the situation now and how they thought it could be improved” in order to inform their submissions on the draft Wellington City Council Local Alcohol Plan (LAP). The hospitality industry believes regulations should be proportionate to the risk of harm. Mr Smith said Local Alcohol Policies “should avoid penalising people who consume alcohol in moderation and avoid penalising outlets which serve alcohol responsibly.”
Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Wellington hospitality and entertainment scene is diverse and vibrant and helps define the city’s character
87% of respondents said hospitality venues were currently open the hours they liked.
A majority (68%) disagreed that the scene would be improved by a “one way door” policy at 1am.
If respondents could not get into a bar at 2am, less than a quarter said they would go home. Most would try to get into another bar (41%), go to a party (13%) or eat in town (13%). That is not the result supporters of earlier closing hours wanted.
The survey showed that 72% ‘pre-loaded’ (drank at home before heading in to town) and 11% admitted to ‘side loading’ (drinking in cars or public places while out in town). These issues will not be addressed by restricting the activities of licenced premises which operate in a highly regulated manner and who are responsible for the behaviour of their patrons.
Mr Smith said it was “concerning” that 11% disagreed that the CBD is safe at night. Respondents supported a greater Police presence and stronger enforcement of the liquor bans.
In conclusion, Mr Smith said “the survey results strongly suggest that Wellington City Council should take a careful approach towards their Local Alcohol Policy. Most Wellingtonians enjoy the Wellington hospitality scene and socialising in well run premises. The final Wellington LAP should address the real problems which are a small minority of New Zealanders have with alcohol without unduly targeting significant local businesses, their hard working staff or their responsible customers.”