Press Release – Newtown Community and Cultural Centre
Concerned members of the Newtown community have spoken out against a proposed liquor outlet planning to open opposite Newtown School. More than sixty members of the community attended an emergency public meeting at Newtown School on Tuesday evening regarding …Newtown community unite against liquor store
Friday 16 December
Media release from Newtown Community & Cultural Centre
Concerned members of the Newtown community have spoken out against a proposed liquor outlet planning to open opposite Newtown School. More than sixty members of the community attended an emergency public meeting at Newtown School on Tuesday evening regarding plans to open a discount liquor store in the immediate vicinity of the primary school.
“Vee’s Liquor Store Ltd” would be directly visible from classrooms and the school playground, and would be open while kids walked home after school. It would remain open until 11pm on weekdays and weekends, and sell an estimated ninety percent liquor products and ten percent other grocery items, according to a letter sent to Newtown School by the director of the proposed store.
Newtown School principal Rhys McKinley says the school has had problems in the past with people using the school as a drinking site, leaving broken glass and half empty bottles in the children’s playground. The presence of a liquor outlet next to the school would only exacerbate these safety issues.
“It’s the sort of thing that is unfair on our children and on our community, and we don’t want that happening.”
“We work hard to promote healthy choices to our kids, and this undermines everything we’re doing.”
Newtown Community Centre co-ordinator Anna Costley says there has been a strong community response to the plans. “The meeting on Tuesday further highlighted how united our community is in wanting to keep Newtown a safe and positive place for everybody. ”
“It’s about the right for our children to grow up in a community where alcohol doesn’t hold a central place. A liquor store so close to our schools will put the safety of our children at risk.”
New Zealand research shows that a high density of liquor outlets increases alcohol harm in a community, she says.
“We have three off-licence liquor outlets in Newtown already. That’s enough.”
Wellington South City Councillor Paul Eagle supports the community in opposing the liquor licence.
“It’s time that Council looked at setting quotas for the number of liquor stores in communities.”
Concerned parents and community members will be joined by local politicians to talk with locals and circulate a petition at the vegetable market at Newtown School on Christmas Eve.