The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) bought Starters Bar in December, and now they are fighting to keep longer operating hours. Under the city’s new local alcohol policy, Starters is one of around 40 bars deemed to be within, or next to, a residential area. This means that the bar is supposed to shut at midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 11 pm on other nights of the week.
Several bars, including Starters, have applied for a rehearing before the Dunedin district licensing committee. Debbie Downs, OUSA chief executive, said, “We feel strongly that there is a need to have places for young people to socialise in the student area and the best place for that to happen is in licensed premises, which is the reason for us purchasing Starters.” Downs believes that the ability to be able to stay open until later reduces the number of students in the Octagon.
OUSA’s attempts to influence the decision have been supported by the Southern District Health Board, the Police, and the Dunedin City Council.