Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New alcohol bylaw served up for Kāpiti Coast

Kāpiti Coast District Council has introduced a bylaw allowing it to set its own alcohol licensing fees.

The Council says the move means it can pass on more of the licensing costs to those selling alcohol, rather than to ratepayers.

“This will mean the right people pay for the costs of this regulatory work,” said Councillor, Nigel Wilson.

He said alcohol licensing fees in the district were currently set at default levels under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and had not risen since the fees were first set in 2013.

“The fees have stayed the same, but the cost of running alcohol licensing has risen substantially,” Cr Wilson said.

“This means ratepayers are paying for costs which should be falling more on license holders.

“Council has a role in minimising alcohol-related harm and giving the community an opportunity to have a say when applications are made to the licensing committee. For that reason, we think it’s fair that some of the cost should still fall on ratepayers, but not as much as it has been.”

The decision will bring the public subsidy down from 30 to 10%.

“The new cost recovery from license holders of 90 percent over five years includes an option to further review the level of cost recovery ahead of the next Annual Plan,” said Cr Wilson.

“There’s no doubt well-managed bars, restaurants, and clubs contribute to the life and economy of our district. We see value in having facilities available where people can go and enjoy themselves while drinking responsibly.

“We’re now requiring alcohol license holders to cover a greater proportion of these costs. Wellington and Hutt City councils have already introduced bylaws allowing them to do this, and Porirua is considering it too.”

As a result of the new bylaw license application fees, annual licensing fees, and special license application fees will be increased in stages over the next five years. Manager’s certificates are excluded as they are outside the scope of a bylaw, said Cr Wilson.

“The fee increases would mainly affect medium to high-risk premises like pubs and chain stores or supermarkets, not small daytime cafes, or intimate high-end restaurants,” he said.

The Council estimates the new fees set under the proposed bylaw will save ratepayers $387,000 over five years.

The bylaw was consulted alongside Council’s Long-term Plan 2024-34 but adopted separately along with the new licensing fees at an additional meeting on 23 May.

Changes in fees will be effective from 1 July 2024.

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