Changes to Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act: OK, alright, it’s about d#!%n timeı

For South Auckland where the sheer number of liquor outlets has been deemed ‘out of control’ and the social effect of alcohol abuse is a major issue, the community welcomes the greater powers proposed in Justice Minister, Hon Kiritapu Allan’s recent announcement.

In 2017, Healthy Families South Auckland (HFSA) alongside Auckland Council’s Democracy Services and Community Action on Youth and Drugs (CAYAD) collaborated to explore ways to improve the alcohol licensing process with and for South Auckland communities. The community expressed that:

  • Making an objection is a significant commitment for community members both in terms of time and financially.
  • There is a lack of clear information and accessible information about how to object, who can object or what is required to participate in an objection.
  • The burden of evidence and technical aspects of the legal process mean that objectors need professional support in order to prepare an effective objection.
  • Different interpretations of the SSAA result in inconsistencies in how decisions are made.
  • Objectors are unfamiliar with the legal context the hearing takes place in and they don’t feel empowered or confident taking part.

The confines of the current licensing framework and adversarial nature of the current process tends to favour the well-resourced applicant over community objectors.

Our sister site in Waitākere has reinforced the above challenges for Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland and the impact that these proposed changes could have. With 130,233 Pacific people and 66,540 Māori residing in South Auckland a more straightforward, community-friendly process is an excellent starting point.

While the focus in the alcohol harm minimisation bill on elite broadcast sport is useful. For South Auckland, the exposure via advertising is secondary. Given the concentration of liquor outlets in South Auckland, the primary source is in our neighbourhoods, on our way to school, church or work.

The Justice Minister’s announcement signals the potential for real systems change and is a step in the right direction. While this means a move towards a more level battlefield between David and Goliath, the devil will be in the detail.

ıJefferson, M. V. (2022). About Damn Time. [Song recorded by Lizzo]. On Special. Nice Life Atlantic. Photo (Latif, 2022).