Suspensions for 11 Queenstown bar managers

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A Queenstown bar boss who blew her licence after just a week is one of 11 bar managers punished by authorities recently.

Winnies duty manager Mary Julia Day, 26, has lost her licence for six weeks – a stiff penalty.

“Two aggravating features are … the incident occurred so early in the probationary year and Ms Day severely abused alcohol,” the Alcohol Regulatory & Licensing Authority says in its decision.

Day got her licence on October 19 last year. On October 26, after returning from a two-day hike, she became intoxicated while out with friends and wilfully damaged a hotel room, the authority heard.

At an ARLA hearing in May, Day said she probably didn’t have enough to eat. The Otago Daily Times reported she received diversion after paying reparation for the damage, caused after she approached a hotel and attempted to enter a room by kicking a ranch slider door’s window.

It’s not only bar bosses blowing it – an Alpine Supermarket duty manager has also been caught.

Julie Marie Paull, 41, has been censured by ARLA for driving drunk at more than twice the alcohol limit in May last year – then driving while disqualified in September. ARLA has revoked Paull’s licence for four weeks from next Monday.

By Mountain Scene’s tally, 11 local bar bosses have had licences suspended recently for offences back as far as the middle of last year. 

Council regulatory boss Lee Webster of Lakes Environmental says: “It’s always disappointing when duty managers make mistakes but there are consequences for people not upholding the standards required.”

A bar manager’s certificate isn’t a right, he says – “It’s a privilege.”

Bar bosses are effectively in-house policemen upholding the Sale of Liquor Act, Webster says, ensuring minors aren’t served and patrons don’t become intoxicated.

As licensees, bar owners need to select their duty managers very carefully, he says, adding: “And that’s a challenge in our district because of the transient nature.”

In recent ARLA hearings, some bar manager applications were abandoned because applicants had left town or New Zealand. Other applications were abandoned after police raised concerns about individual applicants.

Webster says suspended bar bosses may work “in a lesser non-managerial capacity” whilst suspended.