Thursday, 13 November 2014

Closing time

The University of Otago's public health department has been pretty prominent in pushing for tighter alcohol regulations in New Zealand. But it's a little surprising that the University there would let that group near anything that might matter, like student enrolment figures.

Here's The Wireless on Dunedin's proposed Local Alcohol Policy.
However, [unlike the Students' Association] the University of Otago supports all the council's suggestions. It goes further in places, including to suggest that all alcohol sales in Dunedin should end at 2am.
Much of the Dunedin City Council's plan seems to stem from the police, which proposed a range of bans from midnight including that on liquor shots.
But all this has spurred a big reaction from local bar owners, who believe bars will be driven out of business, especially the student haunts. About three-quarters of the nearly 4300 submissions are against the alcohol plan - more than in any other city so far.
Only about 13 per cent of submitters support it.
Inner-city bar owner Richard Newcombe said that is because the council hasn’t done its homework.
The contrast with Wellington is interesting: here, Council has proposed a 5 am closing time - an hour later than the default 4 am time that obtains in the absence of a specified local closing time. I love that I've moved to one of New Zealand's more liberal cities, even if my bedtime tends to be much earlier than either of those times.

In Dunedin, it looks like the Police are pushing most of the restrictions, and that Council just gave the Police what they asked for. The Police also have objected to Wellington Council's more liberal regime. I served as expert witness for the Hospitality Association in Wellington, reviewing and assessing the literature around the effects of pub closing times; I'll blog more on that when Wellington's LAP decision comes out.

It will be interesting to watch whether the LAPs have any effect on student numbers across the different Universities.

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