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Backlash against proposed Auckland bar restrictions

Wednesday 23 Sep 2009 6:13p.m.

Backlash against proposed Auckland bar restrictions
By Rebecca Wright

A backlash has begun against proposed changes to liquor licensing laws in Auckland City, and it appears to be forcing a rethink by the architects of the act, Auckland City Council.

Under the new system bars outside designated areas would have to close at 11pm, while bars in "entertainment precincts" could stay open until 3am.

A dark cloud hangs over the Kings Arms, an Auckland music venue that has been around since the 1880s - but perhaps for not much longer.

"It would just absolutely crush the business if I had to close the music venue," says owner Maureen Gordon.

The Kings Arms falls outside the seven entertainment precincts which will be untouched by the new licensing rules - the CBD, Ponsonby Rd, Kingsland Village, Mt Eden, Parnell Road, Newmarket and Mission Bay.

"We will lose 14 hours of trading week, which equates to two part time adult jobs," says Brett Simeti of the Gypsy Tea Room. "Those roles will disappear.

"We have bands from all over the world coming in and it won't be viable if the band has to stop at 11pm."

The Kings Arms is situated next to a motorway in a light industrial area, but will be classified as suburban and have its hours curbed.

"I think it should be completely relooked at, and looked at by people who understand the needs of Auckland City and the music scene," says Ms Gordon.

And perhaps that is going to happen. When 3 News interviewed Auckland City councillor Aaron Bhatnager, he was keen to point out the council was prepared to revisit many of the issues.

"The boundaries issue is something that's come up quite strongly in the last 24 hours, so we'll be taking a very close look at that," he says. "Obviously if they're concerned that opening hours are a problem then that's something we'll take a very close look at."

Those things will be examined at a hearing in a fortnight.

3 News

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