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NZ First Re: Liquor Bill

20 December 2001

New Zealand First Leader and MP for Tauranga, Rt Hon Winston Peters, has today issued the following statement-

Last night, when sitting under urgency, I introduced, and had pass through all its stages, the Local Government (Prohibition of Liquor in Public Places) Amendment Bill.

This Bill, is intended to strengthen the ability of territorial authorities (Councils) to impose liquor restrictions on specific areas within their jurisdiction. The old provisions were quite restrictive, and somewhat limited in so far as the hours and days upon which councils could make such arrangements.

My Bill was intended to, and has substantially freed up the process, and will result in a far more rigorous regime for the future, including the immediate holiday period we are about to enter.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with complex legislation, a very small error has now been noted and requires the alteration of just one word, or, to be changed to and.

The original draft used the word and which during the process became or.

None-the-less, if the change is not able to be made now, the Bill will be signed into law with this small anomaly still embodied.

The issue was raised during the debate on the Bill in the House, but unfortunately, I was unable to make contact with my advisors who had drafted the Bill, at that late hour of the night.

I knew I would be able to seek leave of Parliament to simply alter this one small word, and therefore I agreed with holding the Bill over for today.

Today I have been advised that my political opponents, have refused to grant the necessary leave to switch these two small words. This is a very sad conclusion and an indictment upon a small number of individuals who in simply a bloody minded way, refused to give their consent to this simple move which would make this long needed legislation just that much clearer for everybody.

These individuals through their intransigent attitudes, now mean the legislation will simply pass into law in its current form, and they, will just have to live with the consequences, as minor as they will be ie only territorial authorities already activating the 1994 legislation will be affected and there is still a police discretion. I have shown the Greens, ACT and the National Party the original draft bearing the word ‘and’ and NOT ‘or’.

It is very regrettable that we still see activity of this nature in the Parliament as generally the spirit and intent of MMP has meant overall improvement and examples of actions which have resulted over this Bill, significantly reduced.

Still, I guess some people just cannot turn their heads away from the old political adversarial system and will take any and every chance to stamp their foot and say look at me, even if it means a piece of important legislation can not be improved.

Happening initially outside my office, it is regretted that this matter was unable to be resolved in a responsible manner today. The actions of the Greens, National and ACT parties in refusing to cooperate are contemptible, childish and juvenile. There is no justification for acting in this manner. Fortunately territorial authorities and the police are more responsible than these political individuals and I have every confidence that they will act in a totally responsible manner and not be at all reckless as they give affect to this legislation on behalf of our communities.

As to talk of general prohibition having been passed into law via this piece of legislation, that is as equally ridiculous as was the actions of the opposing politicians.

ENDS

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