Have a say on tough new drink­ing laws

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Taupo MP Louise Up­ston is en­cour­ag­ing South Waikato res­i­dents to have a say on the Govern­ment’s Al­co­hol Re­form Bill.

The bill was in­tro­duced into Par­lia­ment last Novem­ber by 114 votes to 3. Mrs Up­ston said it was im­por­tant that the New Zealand pub­lic had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­press their views on the pro­posed changes.

‘‘I hope the South Waikato com­mu­nity will take the op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit to the Jus­tice and Elec­toral Se­lect Com­mit­tee be­fore sub­mis­sions close on 18 Fe­bru­ary,’’ Ms Up­ston said.

The Al­co­hol Re­form Bill aims to re­duce al­co­hol re­lated harm, es­pe­cially among New Zealand youth.

‘‘Last year I joined the po­lice on pa­trol through­out the Taupo elec­torate and saw first-hand the dam­age that ex­ces­sive al­co­hol is caus­ing in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties’’ Ms Up­ston said.

‘‘This is the time for par­ents and care­givers to give us their views on al­co­hol in the com­mu­nity and the ef­fects on youth. This bill looks at the avail­abil­ity of al­co­hol in our com­mu­ni­ties which has been an is­sue for the Taupo elec­torate re­cently.’’

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Simon Power stated that the bill was Par­lia­ment’s start­ing point for al­co­hol re­form.

‘‘The Govern­ment is in­ter­ested in hear­ing from all sides of the de­bate to en­sure we come away with leg­is­la­tion which is bal­anced, work­able and, most im­por­tantly, en­dur­ing.’’ Among the pro­vi­sions, the bill:

Makes li­cences harder to get and eas­ier to lose, with more scope to ob­ject to ap­pli­ca­tions and more grounds to de­cline them.

Em­pow­ers lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to ad­dress is­sues in­clud­ing the con­cen­tra­tion, lo­ca­tion and open­ing hours of al­co­hol out­lets via the adop­tion of lo­cal al­co­hol poli­cies. Where an LAP is not adopted the max­i­mum na­tional trad­ing hours will ap­ply.

Clar­i­fies that corner dairies are not el­i­gi­ble for li­cences.

In­tro­duces a split pur­chas­ing age of 18 for bars and clubs and 20 for su­per­mar­kets and bot­tle stores.

Makes it an of­fence to sup­ply al­co­hol to mi­nors with­out parental con­sent or in an ir­re­spon­si­ble man­ner.

Al­lows for al­co­hol prod­ucts which are par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous or ap­peal­ing to youth to be banned.

En­ables the size and strength of RTDs to be limited. Makes it an of­fence to pro­mote al­co­hol in a way which has spe­cial ap­peal to mi­nors or pro­mote the ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of al­co­hol at both on­li­cences and off-li­cences.

Widens the ar­eas cov­ered by liquor bans to in­clude car parks and school grounds.

The govern­ment hopes to have the bill passed into law be­fore the end of this par­lia­men­tary term.

It is an­tic­i­pated that most changes will be in force within a year of the leg­is­la­tion be­ing passed. To make a sub­mis­sion to the Jus­tice and Elec­toral Com­mit­tee on the Al­co­hol Re­form Bill visit www.par­lia­ment.nz.

LOUISE UP­STON: Seek­ing views on the sale of al­co­hol.

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