Wellbeing (Health) Impact Assessment of the Whangarei District Council’s Draft Liquor Licensing Policy

A Wellbeing (Health) Impact Assessment (HIA) was undertaken on Whangarei District Council’s (WDC) draft Liquor Licensing Policy (draft LLP). The process was facilitated by the Northland District Health Board’s Public and Population Health Services.

The draft LLP proposed introducing a uniform licensing hours for on-, off- and club-licenses across Whangarei District. It also looked at introducing a ‘one-way door’ policy for Whangarei Central Business District (CBD) on-licensed premises. The overall goal of the proposed draft LLP is to reduce alcohol-related harm in Whangarei District (the District).

In order to enhance the positive impacts and mitigate negative impacts of the draft LLP, the following recommendations relevant to the proposed draft LLP were generated during the Appraisal workshop:

  1. off-licensing hours should be from 9 am to 9 pm throughout the Whangarei District.
  2. CBD on-licensing hours should be reduced giving considerations to various impacts on CBD on-licensees, whānau/family and wider Whangarei Community.
  3. a ‘one-way door’ policy should not be implemented due to inconclusive evidence to support it.
  4. residential and Non-Residential categories are ambiguous and should be well defined.
  5. review the adopted LLP once the Law Commission’s ‘Review of the Regulatory Framework for the Sale and Supply of Liquor’ is completed and the Government adopts a new Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Policy.

Additional recommendations to address identified alcohol-related harm in Whangarei District have been developed. These are that the Council:

  1. investigate ways to provide better and efficient public transport from CBD at late night
  2. in the future include Wellbeing (Health) Impact Assessments in major policy reviews before public submissions period.
  3. put greater emphasis on monitoring and enforcement (including penalties) of all types of licensed premises which do not comply with the LLP.
  4. consider having a comprehensive Alcohol Strategy for the District addressing following issues rather than just addressing licensing hours:
    • outlet density
    • outlet location
    • advertising and marketing restrictions
    • pricing
    • community programmes focussing on youth and alcohol
  5. develop a better Host Responsibility policy through the local Alcohol Accord which ensures availability of a variety of food on on-licensed premises.
  6. put greater emphasis on monitoring and regulation of alcohol promotions in the District.
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