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Liquor reforms a mixed bag

23 August 2010

Media Release
Available for immediate use

Liquor reforms a mixed bag

The government’s liquor reforms are a mixed bag, says Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson. The split purchase age will be accepted by many bars and restaurants but the industry doubts that it will make much difference to the real problem with those under the age of 18 consuming alcohol inappropriately in unsupervised settings. The Association believes a drinking age should be imposed at 18, along with a purchase age.

Restrictions on hours will have little affect on the majority as they are already shut before 4am. What is concerning the industry is the ability to meet customer demand for activities such as music events, champagne breakfasts or to enable the screening of live sporting events such as the All Black vs South Africa match over the weekend.

Removing alcohol sales from dairies and convenience stores, and making it harder to get new licences, will be helpful in a saturated market but the Association doubts that it will have any meaningful impact on New Zealand’s drinking culture.

Mr Robertson said it was disappointing that the government had not moved to make it an offence to be drunk in a public place, a move he said would do more to change New Zealand’s drinking culture than any of the other reforms announced by the government. The Association would be making submissions to the Select Committee to ensure that the reforms were practicable, workable and actually made a difference in improving New Zealand’s drinking culture.


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