Store volunteers to stop single can sales

Publish Date : 08 Jun 2023
New World Southmall has been praised for volunteering to stop single can beer sales in response to concerns raised by Manurewa Local Board deputy chair and District Licensing Committee lead Matt Winiata (left) and board chair Glenn Murphy.

A South Auckland supermarket has volunteered to stop single can high-strength beer sales.

New World Southmall owner-operator Lin Guo made the offer in response to concerns raised by Manurewa Local Board deputy chair and District Licensing Committee lead Matt Winiata.

The supermarket will add a condition to its licence that no single sales of beer (excluding crafts) or cider in 500ml containers or less occur.

Winiata says the Guo family is to be congratulated for being willing to address concerns that the availability of high-strength beer might impact the community. “If every business selling alcohol was as willing to listen, we would all be better off.”

When the store applied to renew its licence, Winiata visited and found single cans of high-strength beer for sale. “There’s no suggestion that was a licence breach, although neighbourhood stores can’t sell single cans, but I wondered how many others were doing it.

“I widened the search and all the stores I visited sold me 500ml cans individually, with some up to 10.6 per cent alcohol at less than $4. It appears to be widespread. The cheapest 500ml five per cent alcohol can was $2.50, 10.6 per cent cans were $3.79.

“We've received a renewal application for Clendon Pak’n Save, where it is an issue that’s been raised, and it hit the news recently in Dunedin too.”

Winiata says with begging a problem, many of those on the streets with mental health and addiction problems, he was disappointed how cheap beer was. “You don’t have to have much success to get $4 to buy a 10.6 per cent beer.”

He says he has no interest in stopping anyone from enjoying a beer. “But single can sales need to stop. Residential liquor stores aren’t allowed to do it, so why should the big boys? All credit to the Guo family for doing the right thing.”

He says the ideal scenario would be to stop importing or manufacturing 500ml cans. “If that can’t happen, cans should be sold as a minimum pack size in the way ready-to-drink spirits are, so the cost is a deterrent.

“Some might see it as a pointless exercise, but the money people get while begging outside supermarkets allows them to get a fix sooner rather than later. New Zealanders should always have a choice, but our most vulnerable residents deserve to be protected.” 

The store says in its application that its target market is everyday shoppers, that alcohol sales aren’t its principal purpose, and that it complies with all legal requirements and has systems so that sales can only occur between 7am-9.30pm.

“There is no evidence we contribute significantly to alcohol issues in the community, and we take our responsibilities seriously, with extensive training in place.”

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