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National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says Wellington Police are being overzealous and heavy-handed in objecting to the liquor licence renewals of bowling clubs in the region.

“New Zealanders should be able to enjoy a beer or two with friends at their local bowling club, and for years they have without incident.

“It’s concerning that this could soon become a thing of the past, with several bowling clubs across Wellington now in a battle with Police to renew their liquor licences.

“Police do have a tough job dealing with alcohol-related crime, but targeting bowling clubs and other sports clubs is not the way to tackle the issue.

“I understand that internal police research shows that these licenced clubs have accounted for almost zero alcohol-related issues in the last five years.

“It seems that Police are being overzealous in its interpretation of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and should take a more common-sense approach.

“Instead of a blanket ban on liquor licences, Police would be better to target individual clubs that have had a history of alcohol-related incidents.

“Clubs like the Whitby Bowling Club, which has not had a single liquor licence issue in 40 years, should not be punished. The coalition agreement to ‘commit to a serious focus on combatting organised crime’ surely couldn’t have meant the Whitby Bowling Club.

“It is ridiculous that places like the Island Bay Tennis and Squash Club and the Wellington Bridge Club are also having to fight the Police on this.

“Police are highly respected in our communities but they should rethink their approach to liquor licences and allow responsible sports clubs to continue serving alcohol.”

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