There are no official council meetings this week however being a councillor usually means you are involved in other committees and groups on behalf of council. In this weeks column I’ll be talking about ___ I am involved in, the District Licensing Committee as Deputy Chair and the Gisborne District Sister Cities Inc.

The District Licensing Committee (DLC) is a semi judicial body administered by councils. The DLC operates under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and can also make decisions under its predecessor, the Sale of Liquor Act 1989. DLCs are independent decision-making bodies and make decisions about on-licences, off-licences, club and special licences, and managers’ certificates.

In layman’s terms, the liquor licenses for the people who manage the sale of liquor and the places where those sales occur comes through the DLC. The DLC then make decisions to approve, approve with conditions, decline or in extreme causes the DLC can refer to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA). ARLA is a national body who is made up of three district court judges; their job is to ensure that the law is fairly applied.

Being a part of a DLC is a serious role as it has powers under law to make legally binding decisions in relation to alcohol. Due to the seriousness of the decisions made, the committee members need to have a strong set of skills; knowledge of liquor licensing, understanding of the community, knowledge of alcohol harm, hearings experience, impartiality and professional integrity to name a few.

It’s an honour to serve on the DLC with such quality committee members and to be supported by competent staff through the process.

For the uninitiated, the Sister Cities programmes are about connecting cities across countries’ borders. From the website ‘a mutual exchange of ideas, people and materials in cultural, educational, youth, sports, municipal, professional and technical projects.’

Sister Cities relationships are reciprocal; they provide for planned and continuous contact between the cities and their people, and they offer a mechanism at the community level for anyone or organisation to become involved in international relations.

The establishment of sister city and friendship city relations stimulates interaction between people of different countries and cultures on a people-to-people basis. The aim is to foster international understanding and friendship, to encourage exchange of education, culture and sport, and to promote, where possible, tourism and trade. These concepts are recognised as a catalyst for economic growth.

The Gisborne District Sister Cities relationships are with Nonoichi in Japan, Port of Rhizao in China, Mahina in Tahiti and Palm Desert in the USA. The committee is made up of enthusiastic and passionate community minded people. We meet every month and discuss how we will foster our sister city relationships.

Most recently, in conjunction with Lytton High School, we hosted a group of students from Nonoichi, Japan here in Gisborne. Our committee has raised money and are in the midst of planning to purchase a Japanese structure as a gift to one of our gardens in our city.

I may end up getting a smack on the hand from a committee member or two for letting the cat out of the bag too early, but I don’t mind. Even though the project hasn’t fully come to fruition, I think the fundraising and the positive intentions deserves acknowledgement.

I want to commend the committee for the voluntary work they do and the civic mindedness they exhibit, day in and day out. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the committee.

Have a great week, Gisborne.

As always, humbled to serve you Tairāwhiti.