Action likely over under-age alcohol sales

Five licensed premises in Hurunui may be prosecuted after selling alcohol to under-age volunteers during a police operation on the weekend.

Chairperson of the District Licensing Committee, Cr Marie Black, was surprised to hear of the high numbers of breaches that occurred.

"From a community perspective this is disappointing" she said, "Significant time and effort has been taken to educate the licensees on their obligations, and we must aim for a zero result."

Two 16-year-old volunteers attempted to buy alcohol from 16 on and off-licence premises in the Hurunui District between 4pm and 11pm on Saturday.

The five businesses - four on-licence and one off-licence - "failed to meet their obligations under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012," said Sergeant Kelvin Giddens.

Giddens, part of the Canterbury Police's alcohol harm reduction section, said the group was disappointed by the breaches.

The premises in question would now be put before the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority and would likely have their licences suspended, Giddens said.

"Operators need to follow the industry's own well-established guidelines of asking anyone who looked under 25 years of age for approved identification."

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey was also disappointed that a "significant proportion of those tested failed".

"Alcohol causes serious harm in Canterbury, especially to young people. Sellers of alcohol have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that alcohol is not provided to young and vulnerable people."