Mixed views on lower alcohol limits

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Mixed opinions are swirling as Oamaru publicans consider the possible effects of the new drink-driving limit.

The law change from December 1 will see the limit lowered from 400 to 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Oamaru Licensing Trust and Brydone Hotel general manager Justin Ludlow was confident in the hotel’s ability to cater for the law change.

“It shouldn’t have too much effect with our business,” he said.

“From our perspective we’ve been quite responsible for offering transport home. We have a good relationship with the taxi companies.

“We also have our own courtesy vehicles.”

Out of town, things were looking slightly different.

Maheno Tavern co-owner Stephen Purton was concerned about the impact the law change may have for patrons.

“It may have a bit of an impact especially for us, a place where they have to come by car and they can’t walk,” he said.

“Everyone that comes through here is a bit concerned about the level changes.

“In the short term there will be a bit of a problem.”

The availability of alcohol at supermarkets had seen a decline in on premise drinking at pubs and restaurants, but the new law change would not further discourage patrons, said Mr Ludlow.

“On premise drinking is definitely getting fewer and it’s a national decline. That’s just a fact of life.”

Mr Ludlow said if anything the law change “is going to put a fair bit of responsibility on operators”.

Mr Purton said this could prove difficult for publicans.

“It’s very hard, if not impossible to judge how much people are having to drink. It’s totally impossible to monitor everyone.”

Patrons needed to work out their new levels for driving under the limit before picking up the keys.

“It’s going to be good for revenue for the authorities.”

Mr Ludlow said the law change could have a positive effect for the community.

“If it saves lives on the road then it’s a great idea and at the end of the day that’s the thing that matters.”

PHOTO: Oamaru Licencing Trust and Brydone Hotel general manager Justin Ludlow is prepared for the law change.