A decision by the Kāpiti Coast District Licensing Committee to grant an off licence to Super Liquor in Arthur Street has been described as “negligent”.
The committee approved the application by Kiw-E Ōtaki Ltd on September 8 after it heard submissions in Ōtaki on July 22. That decision is being appealed by Te Wānanga o Raukawa, which says the approval was “appalling and incomprehensible”.
Wānanga tumuaki (chief executive) Mereana Selby says the decision was negligent as it would likely have a detrimental effect on the community and the well-being of its people. Ōtaki already had more than enough alcohol retailers in Ōtaki.
“The Kāpiti Coast District Licensing Committee was negligent,” she said. “Their decision disregards the make-up of our community, its socio-economic challenges, its cultural composition and the efforts by its education providers, namely kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa Māori, kura-ā-iwi, early childhood centres, primary schools, Ōtaki College and Te Wānanga o Raukawa, towards empowering and strengthening its residents.”
She said the decision was in breach of the kaupapa of Te Wānanga o Raukawa, the biggest employer in the Ōtaki area and an organisation focused on contributing to the well-being of its students, staff and community. “Further, we challenge the irresponsible and lax response of this committee, none of whom reside in the Ōtaki area and are therefore able to walk away from the impacts of their decision.”
Mereana attended the July 22 hearing expecting to be one of many objectors. However, the only other party that had made a formal objection was Ngāti Maiotaki.
Two individuals – community board member Shelley Warwick and Leigh Rau – attended but could not speak directly to their objections because they had not declared “a greater interest in the application for a licence than the public generally”, as set out in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. Mereana allowed them speaking time by calling them as witnesses for Te Wānanga.
Vanessa Young and Gene McCarten represented Regional Public Health but they submitted no objection.
The lack of representation from the community astounded the Wānanga tumuaki, who says ineffective and inadequate notification of the hearing meant few were aware of it.
“I expected to turn up and find the room full of people wanting to object,” she says. “I only heard about it when someone mentioned they had seen a little notice in one of the Kāpiti papers.”
Neither Ōtaki Medical Centre chief executive Kiwa Raureti nor Ōtaki Health and Wellbeing chair Adrian Gregory were aware of the hearing. Mereana says the police didn’t attend or make an objection.
In her appeal, Mereana says the Wānanga is alcohol and smoke-free and its kaupapa promotes a healthy lifestyle.
“The continued practice of approving retailers coming into our town whose core business is in opposition to and undermines the work we are trying to do is prejudicial to us achieving our goal. It doesn’t make sense.”
She said Ōtaki already had more than 20 liquor suppliers.
“Along with the proliferation of fast food shops that have appeared in our town over recent years we run the risk of being defined as a booze and fast food centre. All of these businesses have passed the KCDC approvals test, yet the cumulative effect is to image our town in a particular way that sends powerful messages to its residents and its visitors. Most concerning is the impact of the optics, the normalising of fast food and liquor sales centres all around us, on our children.”
The hearing was before District Licencing Committee commissioner Fiona Vining, and members Phillip Parkinson and Fraser McInnes.