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Legislative botch-up 'reintroduces' prohibition

Nick Smith Nelson MP

20 December 2001

Legislative botch-up 'reintroduces' prohibition

National last night exposed a serious error in a new law proposed by Winston Peters to control alcohol abuse in designated public places, which would inadvertently ban alcohol from every public place - effectively reintroducing prohibition.

"The tragedy is that the real issue of alcohol abuse in many holiday communities has been completely messed up by a flawed bill rushed through Parliament under urgency on its last day," said National MP, Nick Smith.

The Local Government (Prohibition of Liquor in Public Places) Amendment Bill makes it unlawful to consume or carry alcohol in any designated area and gives police power to confiscate the alcohol or any container used for liquor consumption. A person may be fined up to $500 on summary conviction for not complying.

Nick Smith says the error was made in defining a designated public place to include all public places for which a territorial authority is responsible.

"An alcohol ban which was introduced for a few designated places now covers every park, every beach, every road and footpath. It will be practically impossible to purchase alcohol without breaking this proposed law.

"National has repeatedly warned the Government against rushing legislation through all stages without scrutiny or public hearings.

"If the Government had supported National's bill which was tabled in March, rather than doing a cute political deal with NZ First, this mistake would never have been made.

"It was only National's point of order at the last minute before the third reading vote that halted this ridiculous law. Parliament must now try and sort this mess out before it rises for Christmas. This law must not be passed in its current form. Prohibition was a failure in the 1930's and is not going to work four days prior to Christmas," said Nick Smith

Ends

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