Fees hike for liquor licences

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Waitaki liquor licence holders face substantial increases in fees as from today.

The impact of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations becoming law would impose additional costs on license holders, Waitaki District Council customers services group manager Richard Mabon told yesterday’s council meeting

“Under the new rules you pay an application fee in the year of license renewal and also an annual fee for annual costs.”

Mr Mabon said the new fees came after 23 years of virtually no fee increases.

Under the new regime, at the highest end of the scale, 24 premises in Waitaki would now pay $1196.67 each year comprising the annual fee and application fee. At the moment they pay an annual renewal application fee of $264.40. The one-off three yearly application fee had been $793.20 and this would rise to $890.

Most Waitaki license holders – a total of 41 – fall in the medium category and they would now pay an annual application fee and annual fee of $786.67 whereas before today they also paid $264.40.

In the next category, a total of 28 premises would now have to pay $516.67 each year whereas before today they paid $264.40.

Cr Peter Garvan asked Mr Mabon whether the number of license holders would fall in the district as a result of the increases.

“Some will ask if their license is warrented. Some hold licenses until three o’clock in the morning and they’re not open till 3. They might apply for different licensing which would put them in a lower category.”

Mayor Gary Kircher questioned whether license holders were aware of the increased charges.

“I think you can assume there’s a fairly low awareness,” Mr Mabon replied.

Cr Garvan said the impact on smaller license holders, such as a bowling club, would be dramatic.

However, Cr Sharyn Price disputed this and said, as an example, a club with 50 members could through contributing $10 each, raise $500 which would cover charges.

The council agreed that the chief executive would advise license holders and other affected parties of the increased charges.

Another recommendation that council not collect annual licensing fees for existing licences payable between December 18, 2013, and June 30, 2014, was left to lie on the table until a meeting in February.

By CHRIS TOBIN