24 Hour Licensing?
Zealand's hours of closing are now at the liberal end of the
international continuum of comparable states and countries.
In most, standard hours continue to be set by law, with
extensions granted by the licensing authority (Hill 1997).
Zealand’s licensing hours were changed to 10 o’clock in October
1967, there was little evident impact on traffic injury rates.
No firm conclusions should be drawn from this, since new blood
alcohol legislation was introduced shortly afterwards, and the
economic downturn is generally dated from that year (Smith 1988a).
(Current analyses are demonstrating the effect of income and
the economy on drinking patterns).
on the operation of the present Act showed the importance of standard
closing times in local communities.
Police and inspectors reported that, when local outlets close
at different times, the outlet open latest attracts ‘migrating
drinkers’. They said that ‘migrating’ customers who wish to keep
drinking are often already intoxicated, contributing to street
disorder and other incidents disrupting communities; the last licensee
could ‘inherit’ behaviour attributable to drinking at an earlier
venue (Hill & Stewart 1996).
reported that they were seeing high levels of intoxication with later
closing times; although people were going out later, some were
drinking heavily for a longer period.
In the city centres with very late opening and 24 hour
licensing, police reported intercepting drunk drivers on the road at 7
am and 8 am, when others were going to work and school (Hill &
reported that behaviour requiring police attention was generally
associated with the late-closing or last open premises in the area.
District Licensing Agencies reported that their most effective
method of resolving problems in or associated with licensed premises
is to request a cut-back in hours of trading (Hill & Stewart
1996). That is, changes
in hours have been demonstrated to have significant local impacts.
alcohol outlets and on-licensed premises are logically of equal
concern in regard to local effects of late trading.
Of all alcohol consumed, 60% is take-away alcohol from
supermarkets and off-licences (Wyllie, Millard & Zhang 1996). However, the customers of late opening off-licensed premises
continue to ‘migrate’ - on foot or in cars.
On weekends bottles and containers are to be seen in the
vicinity of many off-licensed outlets, indicating that some purchases
are being drunk on the street or in cars.
is now on sale at supermarkets, is the drink of choice for heavy
drinking young males. Analysis
of drinking patterns in national and regional surveys shows that many
drinkers in their teens and early twenties, particularly males, are
drinking hazardous amounts. Young
people experience disproportionate harm from their drinking, compared
to older drinkers consuming similar amounts (Field & Casswell
1999; Wyllie, Millard & Zhang 1996).
Land Transport Safety Authority figures show that drink driving
offences continue to be disproportionately represented by young and
trends in amounts drunk per occasion by 14-19 years have been shown by
successive annual surveys in Auckland (Casswell 1999; Wyllie, Zhang
& Casswell 1998). This
binge drinking was most likely to occur in late-opening nightclubs, or
in other people’s homes - that is, take-away alcohol drunk in party
situations. Auckland police are increasingly being called out to control
parties of teenagers drinking take-away alcohol, in suburban homes and
in public places.
national drinking survey showed that supermarkets were the outlet type
where young drinkers encountered fewest refusals to purchase attempts.
At that time supermarkets sold only the alcoholic beverage
least favoured by young heavy drinkers.
The Kapiti Coast study conducted by Cristina van Dam shows that
this lack of age verification or refusal continues today.
reported that off-licensed outlets are more difficult to monitor for
underage sales than on-license premises; alcohol transactions are fast
and minors may be legally on the premises to purchase soft drinks or
snacks. Of 948 underage
infringement notices between 1 December and 24 February, 884 were
given out in public places to minors with take-away alcohol (Gabites
above reasons, the 24 hour availability of take-away alcohol supplies
from the applicants are a concern for public health.
As the last
opening alcohol outlets in either the Kapiti or Petone area, the above
research and experiences show they will attract and contribute to
increased late night alcohol related problems in the local area.
already clear that other supermarkets and off-licensees will apply for
similar hours of trading, although the research suggests long term
aggregate alcohol sales will not be increased by all night shopping.
disrupt the precedents and standards by which The Liquor Licensing
Authority has established ‘a reasonable system of control over the
sale and supply of liquor’ across the rest of the country.
‘reasonable control’ of current ‘rule of thumb’ trading hours
for different types of outlet and in different areas have resulted
from public hearings of the Liquor Licensing Authority and local
policies on trading hours in many localities.
These have been established as a result of community concern
and local democratic processes, despite the continuing ‘gap’
between the licensing and local planning systems and dissatisfactions
with the public objection processes (Hill 1998ab).
contribution that ‘reasonable control’ over the hours of trading
can make to the reduction of alcohol related harm and its impact on
communities is in line with the Ministry of Health’s National
Alcohol Policy, which strongly emphasises the role of legislation,
regulation, enforcement and community settings (MOH 1996).
The power to set hours of trading is a key control mechanism granted by Parliament to the Liquor Licensing Authority with the above objective. The research evidence provided here supports the continuation of the Liquor Licensing Authority’s current policies on trading hours for both off- and on-licensed premises through a Statement to the District Licensing Agencies that will be granting unopposed applications from 1 April 2000.