A plan to open a new liquor store in the student quarter is facing criticism from the Police, the university, and the Dunedin City Council ahead of a District Licensing Committee hearing.
The proposal is to have a new Super Liquor store built on Great King Street at the former McDuffs Brewery site, less than 200 metres from the existing Super Liquor store on Cumberland Street. The owners have not yet specified whether they plan to move the Cumberland Street store to this new location or operate both together.
However, the proposed owners, McCarthy Enterprises Ltd, have gotten themselves in trouble with the liquor licensing authorities, which may not bode well for their chances of the store’s approval. William and Patricia McCarthy also own/operate Super Liquor stores in Mosgiel, Andersons Bay, and Kaikorai Valley, as well as Quicker Liquor on George Street.
The Anderson’s Bay branch was handed the longest liquor license suspension in Dunedin history in 2016 after a sting operation caught them serving two 16-year-olds without asking either for identification. It was the fourth time stores owned by McCarthy Enterprises had been found to be in breach of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. However, in June, licenses for their three other stores were all extended, despite opposition from public health authorities, Police, and the DCC.
The University of Otago is opposing the license on the grounds that it is in too close a proximity to student residential areas and that alcohol harm would increase in the area if more off-licenses were granted.
The university recently objected to the renewal of the liquor license at the Regent Night ’n’ Day, and last year opposed the license renewal of the Super Liquor on Cumberland Street near the Central Library, which has since shut down.
OUSA President Hugh Baird said that he thought the university’s attempts to limit off-licenses in the student quarter were pointless: “I don’t think having fewer alcohol outlets here in North Dunedin would change student drinking in any way. [Cancelling the liquor license] would make no difference at all; I think that students will generally walk over broken glass to get themselves to a bottle store.”
A decision will be made at the hearing, scheduled for Monday 21 August.