Roll-Back Begins

The George Hotel, Hamilton

The roll-back that shouldn't even be happening has begun. One premises has had the liquor licence condition requiring security guards any time music plays lifted… the George Hotel in Hamilton. Word came through to the music crew late Monday.

It shouldn't be happening because the onus to remove a "guilty until proven innocent" licence condition, that says if you have music in your joint you must hire expensive security guards, should not be on the owner.

There should be no link between music and "high risk" conditions in the first place, and the Government and Liquor Licensing are showing no sign of removing this link.

Moreover, it has been 6 weeks now since the Government recommended to Liquor Licensing that there be more discretion in the crowd control requirements, as a result of the Live Music Accord, and it has taken this long for one place to be successful?

Not only that, only 6 businesses have applied, of which only 4 are eligible for the exemption, out of 700 venues with the high risk conditions on them—mainly because the process, while free, is difficult, daunting and not guaranteed of success.

Also, this roll-back is only for the security guards requirement, not surveillance cameras, as this is all the Live Music Accord covers—The George in Hamilton still has to provide expensive cameras on "all entrances and exits, bars and entertainment/dance floor areas" if they have music. Look up their licence here.

I'm not saying this is necessarily a problem for them—for all I know they may have these in place already. It's just that as things are, this condition stays on all the affected venues, who may only want to have a folk singer play to a mature group, and CCTV is an expensive set-up that may well discourage a venue from putting on music.

John Brumby and The Tote
That John Brumby and Richard Wynne (the Tote's local MP) should imply to the press they contributed to the Tote reopening, by attending the announcement and dishing out platitudes about how they support live music, is galling in the extreme, when you consider their inaction. See this article in mess+noise: Tote Reopening: A Brumby Photo Op?

This is how Quincy McLean, SLAM organiser, described them on Monday, before news about The George came in:

"They've broken the legs of all these venues and have promised to give out pairs of crutches that no one has yet received."

Well, one venue now has crutches.

I'm looking forward to SLAM's 'how to vote' cards, coming to a polling booth near you, in November's election.


Relevant links
By George! A licensing win, but only six bother to apply
Here's jeers to Brumby's latest liquor moves