There is an astounding editorial in today’s business newspaper The Independent (not online) titled Foolish idea spirited away. Commenting on the recent 11pm closing time fiasco for Auckland restaurants and bars, the paper slams Banks’ leadership saying, ‘the embarrassing back down by Auckland City Mayor John Banks on proposed liquor-law changes doesn’t bode well for sensible decision-making if he gets elected in the new super-city.’
John Banks and his C&R sidekick Cr Aaron Bhatnager have turned into the anti-fun killjoy busybodies of Auckland city. Before trying to make sure everyone in Auckland is safely tucked up in bed before midnight, they were busy slapping after-hours parking tickets out on people out on the town. It’s like they don’t want anyone to have fun in the country’s biggest city.
Quoting the Independent: ‘Publicans in suburban Auckland reacted angrily to the idea of being forced to close at 11pm, or midnight with an extended licence. Rightly so. It’s one of the more stupid ideas I’ve seen come out of local government in a while. I was sitting in a new bar in my local neighbourhood on Friday, and as 11pm rolled around my 40-something friends and I commented how, under the proposed law change, we would have been turfed out the door.’
Ouch, how’s that for losing the middle-class middle-aged vote in Auckland’s central suburbs? And then when you’re getting headlines like this: Publican: Council happy to bankrupt me you know business is on the way out the door too.
The Independent goes on to hammer Bhatnager who had the cheek to blame council officers for the liquor policy by noting both he and Banks voted for the policy. Indeed, Banks is quoted here as saying “my fingerprints” were all over the effort to close down suburban bars at 11pm. I’m sure Aucklanders will be repeatedly reminded of this fact during the next twelve months.
The rest of Auckland better watch out if these two wowsers are in charge of the whole city next year. The Independent concludes: ‘Voters may well question Banks’ decision-making prowess after this liquor-law debacle, especially when you take into account the added pressure the super-city structure will bring.’ Indeed.