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Alcohol law changes begin next week

10 December 2013

Alcohol law changes begin next week

Major changes to New Zealand’s drinking laws come into force next week in an aim to reduce alcohol harm. The reforms, introduced under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (SSAA) 2012, focus on changing our drinking culture through the responsible sale and supply of alcohol.

Passed by Parliament in 2012, aspects of the new law have been phased in throughout the year with the final changes taking effect 18 December 2013. For the alcohol industry this now means:

• Stricter controls on alcohol advertising and promotion, including making it an offence to promote alcohol in a way that appeals to minors
• A clear definition of “intoxication” will mean licensees can meet their obligations to not serve intoxicated people, or let them enter the premises
• New alcohol licensing criteria – licences will be harder to obtain and easier to lose
• Supermarkets and grocery stores are required to display alcohol in a single area
• Harsher penalties and fines in place for serving minors or illegal promotion of alcohol
• Maximum trading hours for on-licences 8am – 4am(bars/clubs/restaurants) and off-licences 7am -11pm (all supermarkets/liquor outlets/wine shops). However, all licensed premises with shorter hours remain bound by their current licence and cannot extend to these maximum hours.

For the public, the alcohol law reforms not only affect when they can purchase alcohol from bars or the local wine shop but how alcohol is served to minors in the home. As of 18 December, it will be illegal to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 unless you are their parent or guardian or have express consent from them. The penalty for breaching the law is a fine of up to $2,000.
Auckland Council, Hospitality NZ, Auckland Transport and Police have worked closely together in preparing for the changes that will occur next week including a campaign on the new restriction requiring on-licences to close at 4am which will affect up to 300 operators in centralAuckland. Being the busy Christmas season, extra transport has been provided for Aucklanders to get home safely.

In future, maximum trading hours for Auckland will be determined by the region’s local alcohol policy (LAP). The SSAA now gives all districts the ability to develop LAP to govern the sale, supply, or consumption of alcohol within its area. Auckland Council is currently developing its policy with a draft being released for full public consultation in early 2014.

The new hours, as prescribed by central government effective from 18 December 2013, are:
• 8am – 4am On-licences (bars, clubs, restaurants)
• 7am – 11pm Off-licences (all supermarkets, liquor outlets, wine shops)

Auckland Transport has the following transport options available to late night patrons in the city:
• Buses are currently available until 3.40am from Britomart.
• The weekend of 21/22 December extra transport is being provided:
o The Northern Busway will provide services throughout the two nights
o Trains will run from 5.00am with hourly services for the western, eastern & southern to Manukau and southern to Papakura lines.
• For specific times and more information visit www.at.co.nz

Alcohol Licences in Auckland Council
• On-licence 2,408
• Off-licence 960
• Club Licence 364
• BYO Licence 35
Total: 3,767 licensed premises as of 1 Dec 2013
• Managers Licences 2,350

For more on Alcohol Licensing Changes visit www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/liquor
For a full copy of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and additional fact sheets visit


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