Hospitality New Zealand's Canterbury Branch has again raised concerns that the Christchurch City Council has failed to follow correct process when making recent changes to the Local Alcohol Policy.

“Of particular concern is that the Council has failed to take into account the Independent Hearing Panels (IHP) decision relating to the entertainment precincts in the Central City when they made their recent changes to the Local Alcohol Policy” said Amy McLellan-Minty, Christchurch Regional Manager for Hospitality New Zealand.

The local Branch has asked the Council to provide the information it relied on to make their decision.

“The IHP decision was significant because it reinforced that late night trading in the entertainment precincts, including Victoria Street, was to be encouraged, existing hospitality investment post-earthquake was to be protected, and that there was no distinction between the "north" and "south" of Victoria Street.”  she said.

“We also have concerns for our members outside the City Centre regarding what is termed ‘suburban centres’ because the council’s position of 1am closing for those operators has been adopted without any supporting evidence. Many bars in those residential areas are closed by 11pm or midnight and were happy with that, but others operating in commercial areas outside the central city zone should be able to stay open until 3am, like they did now.” McLellan-Minty said.

Hospitality New Zealand has previously expressed concern at inconsistencies in the way the Council evaluated public submissions on local policy changes and introductions.

In August 2016 the Council rethought its proposal to reduce traffic speed to 30kmph in the Christchurch CBD, after 202 submissions were received on the proposal with 77% opposed to the idea.  This was in stark contrast to the approach taken with the Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) in 2013, when the Council opted to disregard over 3000 opposing submissions, 74% of a total 4060, the most ever received on any single policy.

“This weekend’s elections will mean this will be the third Council we have had to deal with on the Local Alcohol Policy.” McLellan-Minty said.  “This has come at considerable expense of time and money to our members and we are simply asking for the correct processes to be followed in the development of this important policy, as it’s going to set the tone of the hospitality industry in Christchurch for many years to come.”  

Twenty first-time Council candidates were sent a letter from the local Branch asking their views on the proposed LocalAlcohol Policy with only three taking the time to respond (Tane Apanui, Peter Laloli and Aaron Keown)

“All three candidates provided sensible and pragmatic responses and cared about the vibrancy of our city. We hope the same is true for the other candidates.” she said