One-way door policy rejected for popular Wellington bar Siglo

Hospitality NZ said the decision is a "huge win" for Wellington bars
Hospitality NZ said the decision is a "huge win" for Wellington bars

A bid to impose a 3am one-way door policy on a Wellington bar has failed - and it's being hailed as a big win for the hospitality industry.

The police and the Medical Officer of Health sought the restriction in order to "reduce alcohol harm" as Siglo sought to renew its 4am license.

But the council's District Licensing Committee (DLC) decided the restriction wasn't justified.

The DLC did not think there was enough evidence to justify one-way door policies, and there was concern that the policy could worsen alcohol-related harm if patrons stopped from entering bars continued to drink outside of licensed premises or loitered in the streets.

Hospitality New Zealand Wellington regional manager Dylan Firth said the ruling is "a huge win for the hospitality industry", and it could have a flow-on effect for the rest of the capital's bars.

"We hope that this decision now discourages the authorities from pursuing this type of condition with other operators."

The DLC also said that discussions of a one-way door policy would be better placed in the context of a Local Alcohol Policy rather than individual licenses.

Mr Firth said the hearing came "at a significant financial cost to Siglo, but they knew they had to stand up to the authorities otherwise the wider industry was going to suffer".

"You just have to look to Australia to see that one-way policies don't work and has just meant the demise of the hospitality sector in places like Kings Cross, with mass venue closures. The only reason alcohol-related harm may have reduced in that part of Sydney was because no one went there anymore," Mr Firth said.

Wellington Area Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann said police will be reviewing the DLC’s decision before considering any next steps.

He said the police recommendations were based on "what our staff all too frequently see and experience, which is that most crime and social harm happening in the streets late at night is due to people consuming too much alcohol".

"Police will continue to work with the councils, the hospitality industry and others to help reduce alcohol-related harm and prioritise keeping people safe in our communities".