You may be aware of something called a Local Alcohol Policy (LAP). Perhaps you followed the debate last year as the National-led Government ignored the recommendations of the Law Commission (here), watching as a watered down piece of legislation seemingly more concerned with the maintenance of the status quo passed into law in the form of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
And then nothing…
Unless you happen to be involved in the alcohol industry, council planning, public health or work with alcohol policy/advocacy, then all talk of LAPs has probably been totally off the radar. This is why last week Anglican Action hosted a successful public meeting on the Local Alcohol Policy for Hamilton, currently being developed by council staff with input from key stakeholders and expert advisers.
The meeting attracted a variety of people from the community on an invitation to be part of the conversation on reducing alcohol-related harm. The formal submission process isn’t until mid-July when a draft policy is released, so this meeting was very much organised as a crash course on what the LAPs are, what they cover, what the process involves and offering information for people to have discussions within their networks and communities. There was space for Q & A with the panel of experts from public health, researchers and council staff to respond to the concerns anyone raised.
Developing a LAP is optional for councils, should a council opt not to develop their own they will fall under the national default policy, this blanket policy actually offers more relaxed licence options than Hamilton currently has in place so would result in greater harm for our community.
LAPs give full discretion to community to decide (via their elected council officials) on what they think appropriate for their community but ONLY on matters that relate to licencing.
- Location of licensed premises by reference to broad areas (e.g. the suburbs vs the CBD)
- Location of licensed premises by reference to proximity to premises or facilities of particular kind or kinds (e.g. sensitive sites, Marae, schools, parks, places of worship)
- Whether further licences (or licences of particular kind or kinds) should be issued for premises in the district concerned, or any stated part of the district
- Maximum trading hours (that default being off-licences: 7am-11pm, on-licences: 8am-4am)
- The issue of licences, or licences of a particular kind or kinds, subject to discretionary conditions (e.g. restrictions on advertising material on or around an outlet)
- One-way door restrictions
The LAP offers a great opportunity for communities to reduce the levels of alcohol-related harm and prevent further harm. A big thanks to the organising group for this meeting from Poverty Action Waikato, Alcohol Action NZ, Alcohol Healthwatch and Anglican Action. This korero is highly valuable and we will be keeping you posted as this process continues.