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Nonsense alcohol ban becomes law

Nick Smith Nelson MP

21 December 2001

Nonsense alcohol ban becomes law

Every public place in New Zealand is, as of today, an alcohol-free area under a law rushed through Parliament yesterday, and signed this afternoon by the Governor-General, says Nelson MP Nick Smith.

"Every citizen who carries a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer in a public place will be in breach of this new Act. It will be interesting to note whether Ministers or Parliamentarians who voted for this new law will comply with it.

"This mess is a product of MMP politics at its worst. National tabled a sensible bill in March which would have enabled local authorities to address New Year riots in places like Tahunanui, Mt Manganui and Wanaka.

"But instead, Labour chose to do a deal on the last day of Parliament and passed Winston Peters' bill, allowing him to play the knight in shining armour.

"Mr Peters has been the author of his own demise by dismissing legitimate concerns about the detail of the bill during the committee stages. It was madness, knowing the law was flawed, for the Government to pass it.

"It will be useless in addressing the New Year troubles. No prosecution will stand up to scrutiny when every police officer, MP or Judge who buys liquor could also effectively break the law this summer.

"The only thing this new Act achieves is to make a mockery of the law. How can we expect young people to respect the law of the land when the Government has made the law an ass," says Nick Smith.

Ends

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