Draft Liquor Policy Shot Down!

Banks scraps booze law change – National – NZ Herald News.

Liquor law changes which would have closed Auckland suburban bars before midnight will be scrapped after receiving a hostile reception from the hospitality industry.

Auckland City mayor John Banks and Aaron Bhatnagar, the councillor steering the changes through the council, decided at the weekend to abandon the changes.

The Mayor, who last month voted for the draft liquor law changes, said he had never seen such a violent reaction to a policy issue “and I have put an end to it”.

Mr Bhatnagar blamed the “fatally flawed” policy on council officers.

Excellent, a win for the people for a change! The backlash from both the hospo industry and the public was quick and scathing, awesome to see authorities backing down so quickly.

You know, one of my biggest concerns wasn’t actually related to the CBD changes. I actually objected strongly to the suburban lockdown. For one, it would have forced historic venues like the Kings Arms (which has been a tavern and venue since 1880) into shutting down at 11pm, with a maximum of 12pm after a year. For another, it would have quashed development of neighbourhood venues.

A number of areas were designated as Entertainment Precincts. Kingsland is one such example. It’s an area that is a mix of historic housing, newer apartments, and a nice stretch of cafes, restaurants and a few bars. This area has developed into a vibrant community with some generally well behaved nightlife. Would this area have developed in this manner when forced to close at 11pm? Small restaurants and bars in neighbourhoods like this are not places that want to stay open till 3am necessarily, but midnight to 1am on occasion.

Forcing suburban venues into early closing would have destroyed any chance of further cosy community precincts developing, and that would be a tragedy.

Ford Transit Connect arriving in U.S. with full interiors that get stripped to comply with “Chicken Law”

Does this strike anyone as being well….moronic? 😐

REPORT: Ford Transit Connect arriving in U.S. with full interiors that get stripped to comply with “Chicken Law” — Autoblog.

The law of unintended consequences is a funny one. Take the chicken tax. Back in the 1960s, West Germany imposed high tariffs on American grown chicken. President Johnson – a man you would not want to mess with – fought back by imposing high import tariffs on foreign made trucks and commercial vans. This is one of the reasons why there are no full-size German pickup trucks. It’s also why German egg yolks are orange while ours are yellow (grass fed chicken vs. corn fed chicken), but that’s another story. The only reason we have the Toyota Tundra and the Nissan Titan is because those companies decided to make them here in the U.S. Otherwise they’d be too expensive. This poses a real problem if you’re Ford and you want to bring in your made-in-Turkey Transit Connect van.

How to circumvent the law? There’s all sorts of creative ways. Up until just recently, Chrysler’s been selling Sprinter vans here in the States by shipping them unassembled to a factory in South Carolina where the vans are reconstituted and shipped to dealers. Ford’s taking a slightly different approach. They actually ship the Transit Connects here with the vans classified as wagons. Then, once they reach a processing facility in Baltimore, they are transformed into cargo vans, totally side-stepping the Chicken Tax. Smart, huh?

The process of transforming a passenger “wagon” into a cargo van works like this. The rear windows are removed and replaced by a sheet of metal that’s quick cured in place. The rear seats and seat belts are then removed and a new floorboard is screwed into place. Voila – five minutes after they start as five-passenger wagons, Ford has a bunch of two-seater panel vans. The seats are then shredded and the material is used as land fill cover. No word on what happens to the glass. Long story short, take that chicken tax!

Classic Mixes: Dalai – Electroliner Mix

MP3, 126MB Right click, save as

Intro – MC Twincam
Money Banger – A-Skills v Beat Vandals
Start (Blackgrass’s Bootleg Mix) – The Jam
Drakula (Colorblind aka DJ Spider Mix) – Haze V Erik Sumo
Please Mr Groove (2003 Mix) – The Killer Groove Formula
Samba Hustle (Boogie Army Remix) – MT V Taishan
Watertight (Napt Broke Beat Remix) – MJ Cole
Rolands Revenge – Groove Allegiance
Blow Ya Head – Speciman A feat MC Incyte
System Error – Dopamine
Illusions – Nitro
On My Mind – Splitloop
Schall (Thomas Schumacher Remix) – Elektrochemie LK

Classic Mixes: Dalai – Do Breakbeats Dream of Electric Sheep?

Just adding some permalinks to classic mixes I’ve hosted over the years. Today, from March 2008, Dalai drops a ‘lil something.

MP3 65MB Right click, save as.

1. Sam Hell – Cosimo
2. B – Phreak – Sonic Roc (Original Mix)
3. Bleach Eating Pimps – C U Next Tuesday (Malente Remix)
4. The Bodysnatchers – Twist Up
5. Neztic – Directions
6. Azzido Da Bass – Dooms Night (Switch remix)
7. Groove Allegiance – Organ Dementia
8. The Beatslappaz – Rogan Josh (Grand Def Audio Remix)
9. Turntablerocker – No Melody (Malente Remix)
10. Maelstrom – Makossa (Original Mix)
11. The Young Punx – Rockall (Phonat remix)
12. Radioplastic – Modern Me (Napt remix)
13. Greg Churchill – Mulcha
14. Drum Monkeys – Army Deserters

Auckland City Draft Liquor Licensing Policy

Public submissions on Auckland City’s Draft Liquor Licensing Policy are now open, until 5pm on the 7th of October. This new policy aims to address various issues related to on and off-licence conditions, locations of licence premises, and the varying requirements of licence holders in different areas of the city.

Key points are:

  • Base hours of 7am till 1am in the CBD and special “Entertainment Precincts”
  • 7am till 11pm in the rest of the city and the Hauraki Gulf islands.
  • Extended hours till 3am available in the CBD and EP’s upon first renewal, pending clean record, security staff and server training, and midnight extended hours outside those areas.
  • 24 hour licences available with further clean record, CCTV installation, lock outs after 4am, and further host responsibility measures like free food after 3am.

So, it doesn’t seem totally unreasonable at first glance, but knowing the hard graft some licence holders have dealing the the Council as it is, it’s worrisome to me. Lets go into some more detail. The opening gambit of the policy document is:

Auckland City Council recognises that to be a vibrant, world-class city that is an attractive place both to visit and to live, it is important to have a lively central business district (CBD) and entertainment precincts with an array of restaurants, cafes, bars and entertainment venues. Responsible consumption of liquor outside of licensed venues also plays a part in the way residents and visitors relax and celebrate in Auckland city.

So while we want the city to be active and vibrant, we want it safe. Not so bad at all. But why must we do it at the expense of increasing the cost of compliance for many business owners? Why are we placing yet more restrictions on an already heavily restricted and much maligned industry?

Entertainment Precincts

Separate to the CBD, six Entertainment Precincts have been named. They are Ponsonby Road, Parnell Road, Mission Bay Newmarket, Kingsland Village and Mt Eden Village. These are areas that are considered

mixed-use commercial and residential areas with a lively hospitality trade both during the day and into the night

These areas would have the same restrictions as CBD venues, but wouldn’t be able to apply for the 24 hour licences.

Extended Hours

To apply for the 3am licence, you must have held the base hours licence for 1 year, and then meet further requirements.

  • Clean record
  • Security staff (from 11pm till 1 hour after close of trade, 1 for up to 50 patrons, 2 for up to 100 and 4 for up to 150, etc)
  • Server training (all servers after 1am must have NZQA accredited responsible server training credentials)

To apply for the 24 hour licence, as well as the above, the policy proposes:

  • CCTV at all public entrances and exits clearly recording patrons from 11pm till 1 hour after close
  • One way door from 4am (you can exit, but you can’t come back in)
  • Extra host responsibility measures (free food from 3am till close, no more than 4 drinks may be purchased at one time)

Off licences

Supermarkets, dairys and bottle shops selling liquor would be restricted to 10pm sales cut off. I am however hard pushed to think of many 24 hour off licences in the CBD. Foodtown Quay St is 1am cut off for example.

Initial Concerns

I’m cheating a little bit here as I’m still working my way through the full draft document, but some key points I agree with being made by HANZ include:

  • How this will financially impact on businesses?
  • How this will affect bar staff with regards to a loss of jobs if there is a drop in opening hours?
  • Why are we doing this now with the Super City about to form and the Law Commission about to report back on reform of the Sale of Liquor Act?
  • What is the problem they are trying to solve with this Policy and will these measures solve it?
  • How will this affect the Rugby World Cup?
  • Will the public still be able to enjoy access to neighbourhood bars and restaurants without having to travel to the city for a night out?
  • How have the entertainment precincts been determined? Why are they so limited? What about other areas such as the top of Symonds St/Khyber Pass area, Grey Lynn, Pt Chevalier, Onehunga, Otahuhu, Panmure/Mt Wellington, St Heliers etc to name a few?
  • 70% of alcohol consumed is off licensed premises. Evidence shows that 82 % of alcohol related offending is related to off licence consumption (Police National Alcohol Assessment April 2009).
  • Driving drinkers out of the suburban bars at 11pm will either compel them to drink in unsupervised areas creating more alcohol related harm or to travel into the CBD which creates issues around migratory drinking and drink driving.
  • The Sale of Liquor Act is already in place to promote safe alcohol consumption, dictate the host responsibilities of Licensees, and provide heavy penalties to those who do not comply
  • There is no mention of hours for outdoor areas. The Auckland City Council Street Trading Policy refers to this policy for hours.
  • How a ‘one-way door’ at 2am in Entertainment Precincts or 4am in the CBD would affect patronage?
  • The cost of training all staff to NZQA qualified server standard, especially given the transient nature of bar staff
  • Door security requirements will be great for security contracting firms but cost prohibitive for some venues. Although I believe most venues who require security are already doing it.
  • How much it would cost businesses to provide ‘free food’ if they are open after 3am. What does ‘free food’ mean? Does a bowl of pretzels count? A cooked meal? A microwaved pie? A pizza?

I am definitely considering a submission on this matter, and anyone else with a view on Auckland nightlife would be well advised to do the same.

Pioneer CDJ-2000

Pioneer has announced their latest and greatest, the CDJ-2000.

Highlights are:

  • Plays MP3’s off SD Card, USB, DVD
  • Connects to laptop with Pioneer DJ software, AND works with Serato, Traktor and Ableton, and has MIDI control too
  • Touch sensitive “Needle Skip” function
  • Connect up to 4 CDJ-2000’s via standard network cable and switch.

WANT

Cars to be started by lasers instead of spark plugs

Cars to be started by lasers instead of spark plugs – Telegraph.

This is a few months old, but hey, LASERS!!!!

Scientists at Liverpool University and engineers at car giants Ford have developed a new ignition system which uses focused beams of laser light to ignite the fuel.

The researchers claim the technology is more reliable and efficient than current spark plug technology and will enable cars to start more easily in cold and damp conditions.

It is understood that Ford, the world’s fourth largest car manufacturer, hopes to put the laser ignition system into their top of the range vehicles within the next couple of years before making it more widely available.

“Lasers can be focused and split into multiple beams to give multiple ignition points, which means it can give a far better chance of ignition.”