Stock up early - Auckland Council gets tough on buying booze after 9pm

If you've run out of booze and need to nip out to buy some more you'll soon be out of luck if you're in Auckland.

Auckland councillors have voted to restrict the selling of alcohol in bottle shops and supermarkets. Source: 1 NEWS

Councillors have voted to restrict opening hours for bottle shops and supermarkets selling alcohol in an effort to try and address alcohol related harm in high risk areas.

It's the result of three years' work and almost three thousand public submissions


"We heard some heart wrenching stories. The medical practitioners from Middlemore Hospital came in with case studies they'd had and it was horrific," says Councillor Bill Cashmore, the local alcohol police chairperson.

Horrific enough to spark a raft of changes in when you can buy booze.

Supermarkets and bottle stores must stop selling at 9pm, instead of 11pm. Bars and pubs must by closed by 4am in the city, and 3am elsewhere.

There'll be no new bottle stores for two years in high risk areas while existing stores face higher barriers to getting their licence renewed.

The group representing bottle stores doesn't object to the policy, or the new 9pm closing.

"For my mind it was a very pragmatic, sensible decision and very much in line with the act as it stands at the moment," says Kevin Schwass from Hospitality New Zealand.

Today ONE News found three off-licences on one city block alone. The owners say they're prepared for the changes and they won't necessarily be bad for business.

But Cameron Brewer, the only councillor to oppose the motion, called it a "blunt instrument", although he hoped the new initiatives would help reduce alcohol-related crime.

The local alcohol policies of Tasman, Wellington and Taranaki councils are currently subject to appeals.

Supermarket giant foodstuffs and progressive enterprises are among those considering their position on Auckland Council's policy.

Assuming no appeals are made, the new closing times will be in place by Christmas.