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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

Part II.—Conditions of Obtaining Licenses—

Part II.—Conditions of Obtaining Licenses

No "new publican's license," that is, a license for "premises in respect of which a similar license has not theretofore been granted,"—section 3—is to be granted until the licensing day in December, 1879, unless such premises contain not less than thirty rooms, or have been destroyed by fire. To that date the licensing magistrates have only to deal with the granting other licenses and renewals, transfers, and removal of publicans' licenses granted prior to 1st January, 1877 18
At the annual election for councillors in August, 1879, and at every third annual municipal election thereafter, the ratepayers are to determine by ballot—(1st) Whether or not the number of publican's licenses are to be increased; (2nd) If the majority of votes is in favour of an increase, by what number they shall be increased 19,20,27
A determination to increase the number is, however, not to be imperative on the licensing magistrates to grant any new licenses; but during its three years continuance it is to "annul, to the extent determined on, the absolute prohibition" that no new licenses are to be granted. This provision, contained in the latter part of section 21, seems to mean that the determination to increase the number of houses by a certain number is, to that extent, to qualify the expression of the opinion of the minority of voters, viz., that the number of publican's licenses is not to be increased. The reason for such a provision, having in view the directions given in section 27, is difficult of comprehension. The section may, probably, have some latent meaning; if so, it is very inartificially expressed. 2page v
The voting to determine whether the number of publican's licenses is to be increased or not is to be conducted in the same manner, and at the same time, as municipal elections 23
The directions given in section 27 for ascertaining the result of the poll will have to be amended before August, 1879, as it is quite probable the voting, might result in a way to make them inapplicable. For example: 306 votes are recorded at an election, and it is found on inspection there are 130 votes against, and 176 for an increase in the number. It is therefore, decided there should be an increase in the number. Suppose the 176 votes range thus: 16 votes for an increase in the number of publican's licenses by 6, 12 votes by 5, 29 votes by 4, 46 votes by 3, 36 votes by 2, and 37 votes by 1. The total number of votes—176—divided by 2, give 88. Now, as no one of above lot of votes exceed that number, recourse must be had to the directions in the section of selecting a lot of votes which, with number higher than it, shall give more than the half of the total number (176), viz., 88. With the above numbers, this will be found to be impossible. If on the other hand, the number of vote were found to stand thus—6 votes for an increase of 6 licenses, 12 for 5, 19 for 4. 96 for 3, 16 for 2, and 27 for 1, then. 96 votes being mere than 88 (the half), the decision is clear that the increase is to be 3. Again, substitute for above, 22 votes for an increase of 5 licenses, 39 for 4, 56 for 3, 16 for 2, and 37 for 1, the result—the 6 votes for 6, being unaltered—will be a total of 176 votes; but if, as directed, the 56 votes for an increase by 3 licenses, and the 39 votes be taken in conjunction for the higher number, viz., 4 licenses, be added together—95 being more than the half of the total, viz., 88—the decision will thereby be in favour of an increase of 3 licenses. 27
There is, however, another objection to the mode directed for ascertaining the result of the poll, and that is in the very likely occurrence of more unobjectionable applications for licenses than the number voted. If so, who is to decide which are to be granted? 27
No person is to have any beneficial interest in more than one license; interference by any licensed person with the business of any licensed premises other than those for which he is licensed, is to be deemed prima facie evidence of such interference 29
The requirements of section 31, as to accommodation, size of rooms, and separate bar, are not to apply to any new house situated in a special area, if the licensing magistrates are of opinion the house possesses reasonable accommodation 31
Licensed premises are required to have places for the convenience of the public 30