Media Release – 5th May 2023
A win for local democracy
It’s been a long eight year wait but today’s Supreme Court decision paves the way for Auckland to
finally get its Local Alcohol Policy.
Local Alcohol Policies are aimed at giving communities a greater say on local decision-making on
alcohol licensing. However, an appeal provision in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act has created
conflict between big corporate interests and the wishes of the community.
The two supermarket chains Woolworths and Foodstuffs have kept Auckland’s Local Alcohol Policy
tied up in litigation since it was publicly notified in 2015.
During the public consultation on Auckland’s Draft Local Alcohol Policy the majority of submitters
wanted further reduction of opening hours for off-licences, and 71% supported supermarket hours
being the same as other off-licences.
Alcohol Healthwatch Acting Executive Director Rebecca Williams says that the ongoing litigation by
members of the alcohol industry (in this case supermarkets Woolworths and Foodstuffs) has delayed
the implementation of Auckland’s Local Alcohol Policy for 8 years.
“Today’s decision is more of a whew than a woohoo,” says Williams. “It has been a costly, frustrating
and tiresome wait.
“The evidence is clear that reducing the trading hours of alcohol can reduce alcohol-related harm,
and the community supported this in their submissions. These big corporations were dismissive of
community views and the outcome of the democratic process thus delaying the implementation of
the Local Alcohol Policy and denying the community the protection it offered for eight years.
“The irony is that there is a bill at select committee stage that will stop this nonsense if is adopted by
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Bill seeks to remove the appeal provisions
for Local Alcohol Policies, and is currently before the Justice Select Committee.
Williams says only 35% of the country is covered by a Local Alcohol Policy, as many of the larger
cities abandoned theirs under the threat of this continued legal action. She hopes this decision will
clear the path for them to pick their Local Alcohol Policies back up and support their communities to
reduce alcohol-related harm.
Contact Rebecca Williams – mobile 021 862 250