Tipple trio sought

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Queenstown’s council wants to recruit three ‘booze judges’ to administer the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

From mid-December, a new District Licensing Committee will say yea or nay to all premises and manager licences plus special licences.

Between the Wakatipu and Wanaka, there are about 400 licensed premises and 600 licensed managers – plus 190 special licence applications annually.

District licensing committees will have the powers of a commission of enquiry and can issue witness summonses and demand evidence.

The three-person committee will be chaired by either a councillor or a specially-appointed commissioner paid $624 daily.

The chair should have “proven experience in chairing hearings and interpreting legal matters”, the council says, while the two members need “an excellent eye for detail” and “investigative ability”.

Those members get $408 daily.

Mayor Vanessa van Uden says: “We’re looking for pragmatic decision makers with knowledge of alcohol licensing, an understanding of community expectations and strong communication skills.”

Once selected, the committee will be trained from late October. Applications close July 14.

The council will also consult the wider community as work begins on changing the way liquor licensing is handled in the district.

In coming weeks, consultation with stakeholders on alcohol in the community will be undertaken. This feedback will be used to develop a draft policy.

Van Uden says council’s keen to hear as wide a range of views as possible: “We want to find out how the whole community feels about alcohol and the way it’s managed in our community.

“Often people with moderate views stand back from the consultation process but we feel it’s important for them to voice their position and make sure it’s included.”