Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Otago is a funny place

Nothing in this story makes sense.

A Dunedin shop that makes and sells cordials and soda on one side of the shop, and brews and stocks alcohol on the other side, is getting shut down by the licensing authority. Why? Because the cordials side is too popular, so they get less than 85% of their sales from alcohol.

Otago police aren't known to be reluctant to object to licensing renewals, but didn't object to this one. The District Licensing Committee renewed the licence, then the medical officer of health and district licensing inspector appealed to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

The mayor seems unimpressed:
Dunedin Mayor David Cull said the legislation was hard to make sense of.

"To drive a small company out of business because it sells both cordial and alcohol in close proximity, when supermarkets do the same, isn't logical," he said.

Cull said it was pointless to have a local DLC if any decisions it made were going to get overruled.
What was the basis for the appeal?
The appeal focused on the company's use of a curtain to separate the two sides of its business – which trade under "Wests Cordials" and "Wests Southern Liquor".

Poore and Cashell-Smith argued the curtain did not stop all customers using the same till and entering through the same door.

That meant it was the same premises and in order to qualify for a liquor licence, it needed to prove 85 per cent of sales were from alcohol – which it had not done.
Wests points out that if they sold more alcohol, then they'd not be shut down.

I wonder if Mayor Cull needs to revisit his town's local alcohol policy. None of the rules that were put on Wests seem to make any sense, and application of those rules through ARLA is leading to an outcome that the town doesn't want.

I also wonder how it can be the case that the health system is apparently starved for cash at the same time as medical officers of health apparently have infinite resource to shut down bars and bottle shops.

HT: Eli Gray-Stuart

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