Hamilton bottle stores and city pubs and clubs appear to be abiding
by liquor licensing laws, with a police sting failing to uncover any
sales to underage teens.
Hamilton police alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Jim Kernohan
said 20 licensed premises around Hamilton were the focus of a police
compliance operation on Friday and Saturday nights.
Two underage female volunteers visited several supermarkets,
superettes, off-licences and pubs and clubs over the two nights armed
with cash and no IDs.
In one case the pair came close to buying a six-pack of vodka
Cruisers by handing over an eftpos card before the attendant halted at
the last minute and asked for ID.
Kernohan said zero breaches was a good result.
"It shows that compliance is being done and that the off- and
on-licences are abiding by legislation. It is the results we were hoping
Despite the good result, police had been informed of Hamilton
outlets selling to underage people, he said. There tended to be a higher
volume of breaches in lower socio-economic areas and high-traffic
areas, where there were more liquor outlets.
"We will target places that we may have visited before and had a breach, or ones we may have an issue with."
Premises that sold to underage teens could face charges in district
courts or appear before the Liquor Licensing Authority, where a decision
would be made on the store's licence, he said.
Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, those caught selling
or supplying alcohol to minors face a fine of up to $10,000 if a manager
or owner, and a suspended licence of up to seven days. A person who is
not a manager or owner who is found to have sold alcohol to a minor is
liable for a fine of up to $2000.
"If it is a stand-alone bottle store and it's the first time before
the authority, it's a 24-hour suspension of their licence. For
supermarkets it could be a seven-day suspension, which would be huge,"
Either way, those found in breach would face repercussions and would have to front up to him first, he said.
"I go in there straight after and ask them directly if they made the sale. They have the right of reply."
A three-strikes rule is in place before an outlet loses its licence altogether.
Kernohan said the message was simple - don't sell to anyone without
identification, because there were youngsters out there attempting to
There was no excuse for outlets selling to underage teens, he said.