A new report shows community control over alcohol is turning into a David and Goliath battle.
Lobby group Alcohol Healthwatch says since 2012's Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, the alcohol industry has appealed 30 of the 31 attempts by councils to restrict the number of liquor outlets and their hours of operation.
Dr Nicki Jackson, who carried out the research, says communities are being overpowered.
"The pressure really has been in relation to trading hours, but also in relation to restricting the number of outlets in our community. The local councils face big legal pressures in terms of cost and time in legal hearings to defend their policies."
The report also found that none of the 19 policies already adopted contained measures reducing the number of existing alcohol outlets.
Dr Jackson says this is not what communities were promised in 2012, when the law was changed to give councils the power to set their own alcohol policies.
"It's very sad that we're two-and-a-half years down the track and there is no evidence that is in fact occurring. We want the power to be devolved back to communities to have that say. Tough restrictions are not being put in place."
She says the Government needs to review the Act, and perhaps beef it up.
"Either funding should have been given to local government to be able to assist them with the legal hearings, or perhaps have tougher restrictions in the legislation so local governments wouldn't have to put these policies in place."
The full report by Alcohol Healthwatch is available on its website. ***LINK***