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OK For ministers to have drink drive convictions?

Government ministers can have drink drive convictions but publicans cannot

“Helen Clark finds it acceptable for a fellow Labour colleague convicted of driving with excess breath alcohol to hold down a ministerial position”, says WIN Party leader John van Buren, “but Police deemed hotelier Dean Risi, convicted of an identical offence, as being a person unfit to hold a liquor licence”.

“Police sought to have Cambridge hotelier Dean Risi’s liquor on-licence suspended at a May 2005 Liquor Licensing Authority hearing, offering as evidence, Risi’s 2001 drink drive conviction, as one of a series of incidents that indicated Risi’s conduct had been of such as to show that he was not of suitable character to hold a licence”.

“Risi was convicted of driving with excess breath alcohol 25 July 2001”, says van Buren, “but Police did not oppose Risi’s licence renewal on 21 December 2001”.

“Risi applied for further licence renewal in November 2004, and again, Police did not oppose the renewal application”.

“It was not until Risi came to the attention of Police for alleged breaches of the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act”, says van Buren, “that Police sought to have his (Risi’s) licence suspended”.

“They (Police) did not raise the issue of opposing licence renewal until February 2005, dredging up alleged past incidents and events as grounds, when in the past, these alleged historic incidents and events presented no concern”.

“What we have witnessed in Risi’s case”, says van Buren “is a concerted effort by authorities to snuff out any defiance of the smoking ban in bars, using whatever means necessary”.

“Politicians committing art fraud, expense rorts and drink drive offences are embraced by the present government as being persons of sound character, and persons fit to govern our country, but God help publicans defying the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act”.

“We entrust our politicians not only to make the laws, but to also abide by them”, says van Buren, “and if they choose to step outside the bounds of those laws, and receive little or no punishment for having done so, how can they, the lawmakers, expect everyone else to conform”. ENDS

Release Authorised by Dave Clarke – WIN Party Press Secretary

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