West Aucklanders, fed up with alcohol purchasing restrictions, campaign for 'fairness'

Source: 1News

West Aucklanders are fighting for "relative fairness" on alcohol purchasing so they're not being pipped a few dollars extra at the checkout.

In West Auckland, you can't buy beer or wine in supermarkets, and there are a limited number of liquor outlets and taverns because of restrictions put in place by two licensing trusts.

But a local group is calling for an overhaul on the area's alcohol rules.

A petition that aims to force a referendum on whether to maintain the current liquor monopoly or to introduce competition is gaining traction in the area.

More than 22,000 people have signed it so far. The petition needs 28,000 and has just over two weeks to do so.

Advocate and petition organiser Nick Smale says it's about relative fairness, with people in other cities or suburbs getting a better deal.

"It's the relativity, not the absolute that's important," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast. "It's because it's two or three bucks cheaper down the road that's important.

"If the price of wine, if a bottle of alcohol went up $3 everywhere I don't think we'd have any complaints ... It's the fact that in West Auckland [it] costs a little bit more and so all of the people in West Auckland are a little bit frustrated."

Reasons for signing the petition have been "wide and varied", Mr Smale said.

"I think we see what we get in other suburbs, other parts of Auckland, other parts of New Zealand and it's better. The pubs are better, there are more of them, there are nicer places to go out, different types of places to go out for a meal and a drink, and in West Auckland there is a real dearth of nice places to go out for a drink."

Money from the trusts go into community projects, as does money from the Invercargill Licensing Trust, where alcohol is also not sold in the Southland city's supermarkets.