Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill moves to Select Committee
The NZABC welcomes the decision to send the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill to a Parliamentary Select Committee. This will allow government to undertake a much broader and in-depth review of a far-reaching law.
“We look forward to engaging and participating in the Government review on the effectiveness of our alcohol laws,” says NZABC Executive Director Virginia Nicholls.
“It is both timely and appropriate to review the Act which is a decade old and although our drinking culture continues to improve it is always good to look at how the sector’s key legislation supports this.”
The first stage of the review singled out licensing as a focus which is something which NZABC endorses.
“We support a review of the rules and guidance for District Licencing Committees enabling them to investigate and represent community expectations when granting alcohol licences,” she says.
The Bill proposes to expand who can object to a licence or a renewable application making it easier for individuals or groups with special interest in reducing harm in their community.
“We are however concerned that the proposed change to the legislation will allow individuals or groups outside a region to object to a licence in another part of New Zealand. This goes against the sentiment for a community to decide on their own local requirements. For example, how can an individual or group based in Northland understand the needs of a community in Southland?”
We are supportive of conducting the hearings in a less formal way. However, due to the significance of these hearings on everyone involved, it is important to retain fairness of procedure in which both parties are still able to question any party or witness.
NZABC also supports the review of Local Alcohol Policies (LAPs).
“We do not support removing a fundamental democratic right of individuals, organisations and businesses to challenge decisions that unduly impact trading rights or may not be based on evidence.”
Removing the appeal provisions will not necessarily speed up the LAP process since most delays are caused by the use of legitimate judicial reviews which have nothing to do with the current Act.
About the New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council
The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council is a pan-industry group that comments publicly on matters relating to the beer, wine, spirits and beverages industry. It focuses on supporting responsible alcohol consumption and wants to see a fair and balanced debate on alcohol regulation in New Zealand.