Monday, 12 May 2014

A Liveable City? But You Can’t Drink to That.

For a city to be liveable1 you have to be able to go out and have a drink. For a city to be “the show that never stops,”2 you might need to respect the showplaces that don’t actually stop.

Sadly, this council is having none of that.

If you can’t get out to the bars and bottle stores when council says you can, then new council rules3 say you can’t.  Hard to disagree with Hospitality Association Auckland president Kevin Schwass, who says the changes would be a massive step backwards for the city.

"They are trying to close us down. The 3am closing in the CBD and Newton and Ponsonby and 1am everywhere else is a massive step backwards - it's draconian.
    "If they are talking about Auckland being the most liveable city in the world, it's a joke."
    Mr Schwass said downtown problems were caused by drinkers "preloading" - buying liquor at retail outlets and drinking at home or in the car before going out to a bar or club.
    The city's proposal follows sweeping new measures in last year's Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, which forced bars - some of which used to open 24/7 - to close at 4am, and also allowed councils to develop their own alcohol policies.
    Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer says the Super City's policy has taken a more restrictive approach to standard CBD hours than Wellington's draft policy, which allows 5am closing.
    "This policy will make a joke of council's latest marketing campaign that promotes Auckland as 'the show that never stops'."
    However, council strategy and policy committee chairman George Wood said the plan aimed to strike a balance between alcohol-related harm and the desire to have a vibrant and healthy entertainment scene for residents and visitors to enjoy.

George Wood and his fellow wowsers should try minding their own business some time. Not least the police

who have been quoted frequently as saying "nothing good happens in the central city after 3am" … [and] had asked for CBD bars to be banned from letting anyone in after 1am, when the non-CBD bars would close.

The police appear to have forgotten their position in civil society. Their role is not to decide when or if folk might be allowed to go out and play, but to protect them when they do.

That good people choose to drink or do whatever after 3am in the city is their business only because it is their business to serve and protect.

And if Mr Wood and his wowsers don’t like what they see out and about around they city after 3am, then I suggest they don’t go out and about, or don’t look.

1. “The world’s most liveable city” being Mayor Len Brown’s stated aspiration.
2. “The show that never stops” being the council’s latest marketing slogan.
3. Oh yes, it’s a draft rule currently in “consultation”

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