Jump in alcohol sale compliance failures

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Published: 19 Oct 2016

The district licensing committee is advising licensed premises not to get complacent about selling alcohol to under 18s, after a rise in compliance failures.

Fourteen licensed premises in the South Canterbury region have failed Controlled Purchase Operations (CPO’s) and sold alcohol to minors within the past six months. This includes nine restaurants, four taverns and one bottle store. A third of restaurants checked this time failed, more than a quarter of taverns and 14 percent of bottle stores. There were only four failures in the previous six months.

CPOs are undertaken by Police, Public Health and Timaru District Council licensing staff and are done to ensure compliance with liquor license legislation, which does not allow the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. They use 16 and 17 year old male and female volunteers who enter premises and attempt to purchase alcohol.

Chris English, Secretary of the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie District Licensing committee said: “With most licensees having a policy of checking the identification of those who look 25 or under when trying to purchase alcohol, it is very disappointing that such a large number of breaches within a short timeframe have occurred.

“The onus to ensure that no staff sell alcohol to anyone under 18 sits squarely with the licensee through the duty manager. By failing a CPO, the owner of the business puts the selling of alcohol at risk which can mean the viability of the business itself is at risk.

“The large number of failures may mean the frequency of CPOs is increased until the message gets through that selling alcohol to minors won’t be tolerated by the tri-agencies or the community.”

Dr Daniel Williams, South Canterbury Medical Officer of Health said that the high number of sales to minors during the recent operations is very disappointing.

“The law on sales to people under 18 is clear, and it’s there to protect children. Selling alcohol to people under 18 is irresponsible, and it’s illegal,” he said.

“There’s just no excuse for staff not having good procedures and training for checking customers’ ages.”

An online training tool is available to anyone in the industry offering all the information required to stay on the right side of the law. ServeWise provides clear information about the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, with a strong focus on intoxication, minors, server intervention and host responsibility.

It can be accessed at https://servewise.alcohol.org.nz/

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021