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Hairdressers and barbers warned to ditch ‘thank you’ drink

Wellington barbers and hairdressers are being told not to spread the Christmas cheer by filling the glasses of their clients with beer or wine.

Wellington City Council sent out letters to hairdressers and barbers to warn them, without a liquor licence, if they give clients a Christmas tipple, they could be served a $10,000 fine.

The Powder Room was one of the salons who received the letter, and owner Lisa Ussher says it ruins the spirit of Christmas.

“Giving them a little glass of wine is our way of saying thank you to them, so it’s taken away that lovely vibe,” she said.

“We [provide] shortbread, but the wine is a special touch and it’s not much, but people really appreciated it.”

Ms Ussher said the time and money spent policing this, could be better spent elsewhere.

“We’ve got the drunken stuff that goes on in Courtenay Place every weekend, which has been going on for a long time, and with all our small businesses, especially around Cuba Street, there’s a lot of shop-lifting going on,” she said.

New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers chair Maureen Bowring said she respected the legislation but saw the downside too.

“We have to abide by the regulations and we would hope our members would do so as well,” she said.

“However, personally at Christmas time it would be nice to be able to give the clients a very small glass of wine.”

Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said they were not trying to be Christmas Grinches but had a point to make.

“The point is we just want to remind businesses that don’t have liquor licences they shouldn’t be dealing with alcohol, so we’re going to resist the urge to do raids, but if we get complaints we may need to act on it,” he said.

Mr MacLean said this year they were just focusing on barbers and hairdressers.

“We aren’t detecting traditions or trends amongst other businesses, so it seems to be a tradition that’s focused on people getting a haircut done before Christmas,” he said.

He said it was a health a safety matter and the decision was made in partnership with Wellington police.

RNZ