Living after midnight report highlights local alcohol policy issues

LGNZ has welcomed The New Zealand’s Initiative’s ‘Living after midnight’ report as an important step to advance the debate around how councils protect their communities, but also allow the night-time economy to thrive.

“One of the core challenges for local government in New Zealand is being given responsibility for a particular role or function but denied the powers or tools to make the changes that communities want to see. Nothing epitomises this dire situation like local alcohol policies,” says LGNZ vice-president Stuart Crosby.

“It has literally cost ratepayers millions to get their local alcohol policies passed after being challenged by central government agencies and commercial interests. This, despite the fact that the legislation is supposed to let communities decide which alcohol settings are right for them.”

“It’s for that reason we support any moves that give communities more power to set the rules that work for them. If a community values the contribution from a thriving nightlife they should be allowed to set the rules that encourage it in a safe way, and vice versa.”

Mr Crosby says LGNZ is firmly committed to the principle of localism, which is essentially the idea that local people should be given the greatest voice in local matters, whether that’s around recycling centres, or off-licence opening hours.

“It’s important to realise the value of flexible policy when it comes to the night-time economy. Places like Sydney and the UK have shown that heavy-handed and one-size-fits-all alcohol policy can often produce more harm than it prevents. Like all things, it’s about striking the right balance.”