A supermarket franchise in Tauranga will be banned from selling alcohol for five days following a recent licensing compliance operation.
The suspension decision was made by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) after the Countdown supermarket in Bureta sold alcohol to a 17-year-old during a Controlled Purchase Operation conducted by the Police, Tauranga Alcohol Licensing Inspectors and a Medical Officer of Health representative.
Tauranga City Council followed through with enforcement action against the supermarket.
The operation involved an underage purchaser, under the authority and supervision of Police, attempting to purchase alcohol from a number of premises within the Tauranga district.
A variety of off-licenced premises were tested during the operation, including supermarkets, grocery and bottle stores.
In a statement, Tauranga City Council said that “of the 23 premises visited, two failed by selling alcohol to the minor – the Countdown premise and a local bottle store”.
A suspension application in relation to the second premise is still before ARLA, awaiting a determination.
“While it is encouraging that staff at 21 out of the 23 premises ‘tested’ were vigilant and prevented the sale of alcohol to a minor, it is disappointing that two failed to do so,” said Team Leader: Alcohol Licensing, Tauranga City Council, Sam Kemp.
“The legal age to purchase alcohol is 18 and over, but requiring relevant photo identification from customers who may appear to be under the age of 25 is the best practice to avoid situations like those faced by these non-compliant premises. If the customer can’t produce ID, then refuse the sale. It’s really that simple.
“These interagency operations are an effective way of ‘taking a snapshot’ to test compliance, and they are performed at random times throughout the year. All we ask is that licensed premise operators and managers treat every day as the day when they could be tested.”
The Countdown will not be permitted to sell alcohol from 7am Saturday, 18 November to 7am Thursday, 23 November. A store employee, who was ‘duty manager’ at the time of sale, will also have their manager’s certificate suspended for 28 days from 18 November. Neither the supermarket licensee nor the manager disputed the suspensions, which were handed down in October.