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August 16, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Undie 500’s Liquor Licence gets Roadblocked

The Marlborough Disctrict Council last week declined an application for a liquor licence made by Undie 500 organisers for their event in the Marlborough town of Seddon.

Organisers Canterbury University’s Engineering Society (Ensoc) will not be allowed to sell alcohol at the Undie 500 event, which was set to be held in Seddon after landowners Trish and Chris Redwood agreed to host the event on their property. As reported in Salient, the Redwoods offered their property after Ensoc were told they were no longer welcome in Dunedin.

A hearing was held early this month to determine whether Ensoc were eligible to serve alcohol on the Seddon property.

Marlborough District councillor Andrew Barker argued that the Marlborough District Council had made the decision out of an emotional response rather than on the facts. The reasoning behind the rejection is yet to be released. The council say it will be included in a full report of the hearing, due this week.

The police have been firm opponents to the Undie 500 tradition and made a submission against the organisers’ application for a liquor licence.

Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan of Blenheim says that the event is focused purely on alcohol consumption.

“It doesn’t contribute anything to the province and would have been a cost to the province through emergency services and health services.”

Ensoc President Michael Cook says that Ensoc were committed to successfully hosting an official Undie 500 this year but the liquor license decision will mean that they will need to start over again.

“Going somewhere else is an option; we just have to reassess and see what we can do.”

Cook also remained coy on the possibility of making the event BYO alcohol.

“If we decided to still have a BYO, the cops could still shut us down.”

Victoria University student and 2009 Undie 500 attendee Adam Clark says that the event was important for maintaining a fun and eventful image of student life.

“They shut down Gardies in Dunedin, now they want to shut down everything else that is fun to do whilst going through the hardships of student life.”

The Marlborough District Council can exercise their ability to enforce a liquor ban over the area if the event organisers wish to continue plans to have it in Seddon.

According to the Marlborough District Council website, the council maintains the power to ban liquor for one-off events.

“[The] council can use this power generally, to create on-going liquor bans in public places, or to ban liquor for one-off special events or occasions in public places.”

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