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Police say no confidence in Sevens liquor licence holder

UPDATED: Police say breaches of alcohol laws last year led it to question the capability of Sevens licence holder Spotless.

NZ Police have lodged two applications with the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority in relation to breaches of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act during the Sevens. A hearing date is yet to be set.

Wellington police spokesman Nick Bohm says police do not have confidence in the staff, training and systems of the licence holder Spotless given its performance last year.

It says breaches were mainly to do with intoxication, while there was also under-age drinking. 

Changes to the act introduced last year more clearly define who is considered “intoxicated” and can be sold alcohol and kept on premise.

However, he says it is “early days” and won’t say what restrictions it wants on alcohol sales at the Sevens. The police will not release the full submissions to the media.

Mr Bohm says assuming the authority rules to vary Spotless’ licence conditions, the police will continue discussions with organisers.

He refused to speculate whether the police have any bottom line conditions such as it becoming a day light onlyevent. 

The Police have lodged two applications with the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

The first proposes a special licence with terms agreed to by the police, while the second application is to suspend or cancel the caterer's liquor licence.

New laws place tighter restrictions on who can sell alcohol and give a definition of "intoxicated" to guide licence holders as to who can stay on their premises. 

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon says Spotless losing its licence is highly unlikely, and refused to discuss whether the caterers could back out of the contract if licence conditions change.

Mr Harmon says it was not clear what exactly the police would want included in a special licence but discussions were taking place.

The police had not raised any concerns with other events held at the stadium, he says.

He says since organisers have been working on alcohol management, consumption of alcohol at the Sevens has halved and the number of people being treated was trending downward.

“The problem we have in Wellington is pre-loading, which has meant we’ve had to become stricter at the gate.”

The event needs to evolve, Mr Harmon says, to have more of a focus on rugby while retaining its carnival aspect.

NZ Police Wellington district communications manager
 Nick Bohm 
had not responded to NBR ONLINE’s requests for comment at press time.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Matt Torbit told NBR ONLINE media are unable to view submissions to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority while cases are still being heard. 

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed a total of 47 appeals have been received against 10 provisional local alcohol policies. 

What do you think? What conditions should be placed on the liquor license for the Sevens? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

Comments and questions

It is disappointing that events get to this stage before someone thinks something needs to be done about it. I was involved in the 7s at the start and predicted this as a long-term outcome. It could have been controlled long ago.

No liquor laws will stop the consumption of a few youth. You can easily get by gate security by consuming large amounts just prior to entry, the effect doesn't kick in until you get inside the stadium. My solution would be to ban entry post say 4pm, make it a Saturday-Sunday event, breathalise people on the gate to ensure pre loading is limited. Drop the price of alcohol in the stadium to stop a huge uproar. If people want to get bollocked they would literally have to spend the entirety of the weekend going from the back of the queue to the front of the queue, watch no rugby and do no socialising, by keeping the price of alcohol down you encourage people to get in earlier, not drink heavily before hand and puts more bums in seats watching group stage rugby, plus its very rare that someone gets legless drunk on just stadium beer and wine, its always the stadium beer and wine, combined with the bottle they skulled before they got on the concourse

Get real - Go to Hong Kong, its all about personal responsibility

Again the actions of the morons ruin it for everyone else

It hasn't "got to that stage" - it an over reaction by a few of the PC brigade incl whinging cops along with a media beat up - the wowsers win again, but the 95+% who want to watch a bit of rugby, have a beer & enjoy themselves, have a bit of a party get shafted. Last time of me (and I'm far from an 18 yr old preloader)

wMc - when there is no one in the stadium it has got to that stage. Bob - I have been an observer at Hong Kong and yes they get it right. It's about separating the party people (south stand) from the ones that want to watch a bit of rugby but still have a great time.

Have the Police have any ideas on how to fund the event., Goodbye Sevens for Wellington. Maybe the Police are going to set up more speed cameras set at 53km to generate the loss to Wellington's income.

Go the Fun Police job well done

Increase the cost of alcohol they sell at these events and drop the cost of food and other beverages. At the moment the caterers are just pure greedy.

Mates say this year was better than last year

Leave it alone - keep the education and consequences. Don't change anything