The Alcohol Reform Bill

The Reform Bill passed its third reading yesterday. There’s actually a lot of significant changes in it, even though the wowsers are wailing that it doesn’t bring in minimum pricing, so a bottle of wine would cost at least $16.

The SOP by Lianne Dalziel was supported by most of Labour, all the Greens and NZ First. So expect the price of a drink to skyrocket under a change of government. There is a glimmer of hope though – Shearer, Mallard, Hipkins, Woods, Cosgrove and Faafoi voted against Dalziel’s minimum pricing amendment.

So what are the major law changes:

  • local alcohol policies can be set determining maximum trading hours in their area and limiting the location of licensed premises. This sensibly recognises that the needs of Wainuiomata may be different to Courtenay Place.
  • stronger rules about the types of stores eligible to sell alcohol and restricting supermarkets and grocery stores to displaying alcohol in a single area.
  • express consent from parents or guardians before supplying alcohol to a minor
  • new liquor licensing criteria, making licences harder to get and easier to lose
  • stronger controls on alcohol advertising and promotion

I think the most important change is that it is now an offence to supply alcohol to minors, without parental consent. Previously it was only an offence to sell it.

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