Auckland Council has welcomed a decision by the Supreme Court to dismiss appeals by supermarket companies opposed to the Council’s proposed local alcohol policy (PLAP).
Auckland Council’s Chief of Strategy, Megan Tyler says the decision resolves some of the legal challenges to the PLAP by Foodstuffs North Island Limited and Woolworths New Zealand Limited, which began in 2015 when the new policy was first adopted.
“This has been a lengthy process spanning nearly eight years,” said Ms Tyler.
“It began with supermarket chains making submissions against various provisions to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA), followed by those companies seeking judicial review of the ARLA decision in the High Court, and appeals to the Court of Appeal and most recently the Supreme Court.
“While these appeals before the Supreme Court are now exhausted, this decision does not mean that the PLAP can immediately come into force. There are still a number of matters outstanding that will require resolution before ARLA, and we will now turn our attention to working through those,” she says.
The core argument from supermarket companies focussed on maximum trading hours (for the sale of alcohol), decision-making on where new off-licences might go and discretionary decisions on alcohol licences.
Auckland Council Regulatory and Safety Committee Chair, Josephine Bartley welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.
“At the heart of the council’s policy approach has been the reduction of alcohol harm in our communities,” she said.
“We welcome the resolution of this appeals process and the opportunity to get on with implementing our local alcohol policy – eight years has been a long time to wait.
“While the changes won’t happen overnight, we look forward to seeing alcohol suppliers reflect on the ways the policy will allow them to supply alcohol responsibly and where they can do their bit to mitigate the worst impacts of alcohol on their communities,” says Cr Bartley.