At the Western Heights Residents and Ratepayers meet the candidates evening on Friday, a member of the audience asked what the council candidates thought was the best way forward for alcohol sales under the Supercity. All the candidates universally said that they support the Waitakere Licensing Trust, and wouldn’t alter it’s role in our community.
“It is time for alcohol in our community to be controlled by the community”, says Michael Wood a spokesperson for Roskill Community Voice, which is launching a policy to bring back community controlled liquor licensing trusts.
“Everyone is concerned about alcohol related problems in our community, but no one is taking decisive action. A big part of the problem is that local communities have very little say over alcohol issues in their own backyard”, continues Mr Wood.
“Licensing trusts are community controlled organisations that have authority to exercise control over liquor in a community. The people of the community elect and hold to account the elected trustees of the Trust. Any excess proceeds made by the Trust are put back into the community. This flow of funding could replace the money that is currently given to community groups by the scourge of pokies in our community”.
“Due to a law change in the 1990s, communities no longer have the right to establish licensing trusts. A Roskill Community Voice controlled Local Board will campaign for the re-establishment of modern Local Licensing Trusts where communities support them, and will seek the support of an MP to introduce legislation allowing for this. If successful we will go to the people of Mt Roskill to seek their approval for the establishment of a local trust”.
“The free market in liquor has failed, and it is time that local communities took some control back. Instead of looking for easy populist solutions like blaming young people for all of our liquor related problems, we need to give local communities the power to work out local solutions. We will be campaigning hard on this important policy”, concludes Mr Wood.