Alcohol Compliance Under the Microscope

Two licensees came up short during a control purchase operation for under-age customers by the Waimakariri District Licensing Agency last week.

Woman putting alcohol in bag

The exercise was conducted jointly by Constables Bridget McLaren, Adrienne Jones from New Zealand Police, Helen Barbour, Alcohol Licence Officer from Community and Public Health, and Raj Deo, the Council’s Licensing Inspector.

Two under age students were employed to enter six licensed premises with the intent of purchasing alcohol.

This was done to test whether the premises concerned complied with the requirements of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The exercise covered liquor outlets in Ashley, Sefton, Rangiora and Woodend.

In two instances, sales were made without the under-age customers being asked for the required age-identification.

The Police are submitting enforcement applications to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority in Wellington for the breaches by the licensees and their duty managers.

While the failures showed that not all licensees in the District are getting the ‘No ID, no sale’ message, the other four establishments did pass the test, with the young patrons being refused access.

The Licensing Agency has been working with local licensees to ensure their managers observe the strict requirements of the license conditions to achieve compliance.

The Agency proactively interviews all managers during the initial application period, and when they renew their licence, to reinforce their responsibilities toward the Act as duty managers of licensed premises.

While letters have been sent to the licensees who passed the test, complimenting them for being responsible operators and not breaching the Act, Council Environmental Services Manager Malcolm Johnston says the failure of two outlets indicated that more educational work needed to be done.

“We can’t be happy when thirty percent of those tested failed,” Johnston says.

“We will continue to remind all licensees of their obligations, and continue with the tests. We are coming up to a busy period for the licensed industry during the summer holidays. It is important that duty managers are vigilant and ensure that their staff are following the required procedures when it comes to checking for customer ages.”

“If in doubt, ask for identification, it’s very simple.”