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Community Safety

GEORGE WOOD is a North Shore ward councillor on the new Auckland Council. The former three-term mayor of North Shore City lives in Forrest Hill with wife Myra.

This glorious summer just seems to continue unabated. Myra and I took a trip down to the Waiarapa recently and pockets of the countryside were extremely parched and brown. At this time it must be extremely worrying to be pastoral farming. Our hearts must go out to the people of rural New Zealand as they battle through the drought.

Back at city hall the 2013 year has got off to a busy start. Particular work that is happening right now within my area of responsibility includes:

Implementation of the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act: Parliament finally passed this new legislation and it is law from 18 December. I have been appointed to chair the working party to decide Auckland Council’s development of a local alcohol policy. It is going to take us a full 12 months before the council can put our new policy out for consultation, which is what the law prescribes.
In the meantime any new licences that are applied for are issued on a temporary basis until the new local alcohol policy is enacted. Six months after the enactment of the legislation new criteria will apply for the issuing of licences which somewhat tightens up the process.
On 18 December this year the national default operating hours for on and off licences commence. This means that bars, cafes and restaurants will not be able to commence the sale of alcohol until 8am and must close at 4am the following morning. Bottle stores, supermarkets and liquor outlets for home sales have opening hours of 7am until 11pm. When the Auckland Council gets our local alcohol policy into operation these opening hours may be changed to suit local wishes and requirements.
Auckland Council will also locally administer the issuing of all liquor licenses including renewals from 18 December. With over 12 thousand liquor licences of all types, including bar managers, across the Auckland region this will be a mammoth task. At this stage we envisage employing commissioners with knowledge and expertise in liquor matters to handle this task. The administration of this activity is going to be fully funded by the fees collected from applicants.
Overseeing the work of the council will be the Wellington based Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill: Since the new council started in November 2010 I have been working to try and get this local government bill through Parliament. This has been a long drawn out saga for the people of Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe and Manurewa. As chairman of the Community Safety Forum I took over the political leadership of the bill for the new council.
I have spent a huge amount of time and effort trying to put together a strong case to convince the Local Government and Environment Select committee of Parliament that the legislation should be passed into law. Last month we eventually went before the select committee and they report back in July so we have our fingers crossed. Although it sounds somewhat trivial to people living on the North Shore I can tell you that the subject areas in Auckland South see the matter differently.

by George Wood