Government announces amendments to "fix" alcohol legislation

2 November 2022

Justice Minister Hon Kiritapu Allan has announced that the Government will be introducing laws aimed at "fixing alcohol legislation that has been used by the alcohol industry and retailers to stop local communities from putting in place rules around the sale of liquor in their area."

The amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 will remove the ability to appeal local alcohol policies (LAP)s among other things.

The right to appeal LAPs provides an important check and balance that assists in securing a broadly consistent approach across the country.

We once again find ourselves in a situation where the public are being sold the narrative that the "booze industry" or "powerful alcohol industry" holds all the power. Not-for-Profit clubs and small business owners who are already struggling under the weight of legislative burden are not the problem here, and should not be lumped in with large supermarket chains.

Clubs and small businesses must be afforded the right to appeal, especially when a provisional LAP is unreasonable or worse inconsistent with the objects of the Act.

Clubs New Zealand strongly supports local communities having a say in how alcohol is sold, but it seems that our decision makers are forgetting that our clubs and our small hospitality operators are as much a part of our local communities as you and me, and they deserve to have an equal voice.

Our concern is that removing the right to appeal LAPs will only result in those with deep pockets launching Judicial Reviews, which are not accessible to our clubs or small businesses and are not limited in the same way that LAP appeals are.

If you think this all sounds familiar, you are not mistaken.  Earlier this year Green MP, Chloe Swarbrick introduced a members bill to Parliament that aimed to abolish appeals on LAPs along with alcohol sponsorship and advertising of all streamed and live sports and ban alcohol sponsorship at all sporting venues. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill is currently sitting on the Parliamentary Order Paper and yet to have its first reading, Chloe Swarbrick has indicated that her bill will remain on the table for the time being.

It is envisioned that the amendments proposed by Labour would be the first steps, with further work looking at licensing structures and processes, marketing and sponsorship, pricing, and changes to ensure the law is responsive to new products and retail models.

Clubs New Zealand would welcome the opportunity to share our experiences, efforts and community contribution with Justice Minister Hon Kiritapu Allan ahead of these amendments being introduced.

You can read Justice Minister Hon Kiritapu Allan's media release here 

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