17 Feb 2010

City-wide liquor ban considered for Wellington

5:12 pm on 17 February 2010

Wellington could become the first main centre to introduce a city-wide liquor ban in public places at all times, possibly as early as June.

Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin all have liquor bans, but none covers a city council's entire jurisdiction.

A liquor ban was introduced in Wellington in October 2003 and covers the CBD and some fringe suburbs.

A council committee will urgently debate the matter on Thursday, spurred on by increasing reports of drunken disorder in the suburb of Newtown.

Council officials have put up three options, but say a city-wide ban would give consistency and has strong police support.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast backs the proposal, saying people are fed up with the anti-social behaviour that comes with excessive drinking in public places.

But councillor Iona Pannett says there's nothing inherently wrong with drinking in a public place and a ban is a blunt instrument for dealing with a deep-seated social problem.

She sees the proposal as rushed, as it pre-empts the findings of a review of liquor laws by the Law Commission, which is due next month.