Time to tweak the liquor licensing application process?

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Being an MP means constituents come to me about a wide variety of local issues. One that has recently been brought to my attention is the existing process for viewing liquor licensing applications in Christchurch.

We can’t currently view liquor licensing applications online - instead we must make an appointment with the Alcohol Licensing Team and visit the council to read the application in person. Several residents have mentioned to me that this process is unnecessarily arduous and that they would like to be able to view the documents on the Council’s website instead.

Numerous city councils around the country already do this. For instance, current applications can be viewed in their entirety on the Dunedin, Wellington and Tauranga city council websites. I am interested in seeing whether it is possible for our council to do something similar. Putting licensing applications online simply makes it easier for us all to access this information and to be aware of what’s happening in our neighbourhoods.

Let me be clear that this isn’t about making it harder for applicants to obtain, alter or renew their licences. I know many of our local businesses, clubs and events sell or supply alcohol, and they take their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 seriously. They are part of what makes Port Hills such a vibrant electorate to live. This is simply about ensuring that those residents and community groups who meet the threshold of having a ‘greater interest’ in new licenses and license renewals don’t face unnecessary barriers in participating in the application process.

I have already spoken with Councillor Paul Lonsdale about this issue, but would also like to hear your thoughts. You can get in touch with me at nuk.korakomp@parliament.govt.nz.