Have a say on tough new drinking laws
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.