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Dalziel welcomes decision on convenience stores

3 December 2009 Media Statement

Dalziel welcomes decision on convenience stores


Labour’s Justice spokesperson and Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel has welcomed a landmark Christchurch ruling that prevents dairies masquerading as grocery stores getting liquor licences.

The Liquor Licensing Authority released a decision this week declaring its intention to change its nine-year stance and reclassify convenience stores as dairies, which cannot sell alcohol. In 2000 the authority allowed such stores to be classified as groceries, which are allowed to sell alcohol.

Lianne Dalziel said that while she had sympathy for businesses that believed they were operating legitimately, Parliament had voted explicitly against extending the law to dairies in 1999.

"The Liquor Licensing Authority in what it has described as 'an unfortunate series of events' had defeated Parliament's intention by allowing these stores to obtain licences creating a major loophole in the law," said Lianne Dalziel.

The Sale of Liquor Act 1989 specifically refers to "any grocery store, where the Licensing Authority or District Licensing Agency, as the case may be, is satisfied that the principal business of the store is the sale of main order household foodstuff requirements".

"If the law was intended to refer to stores like the Night 'n Day stores then there would have been no need to try and write in the word 'dairy' in 1999. The MPs voted against the proposed amendment, so there was no basis for the LLA to grant the liquor licences in the first place," said Lianne Dalziel.

Lianne Dalziel said she had hosted and attended a number of public meetings on alcohol and believed the public would overwhelmingly support the closing of the loophole.

“The expression ‘enough is enough’ sums up the general attitude I have heard expressed from a variety of communities. They have simply had enough of the proliferation of outlets, especially off-licences, and they will be delighted that the Liquor Licensing Authority is now doing something about it.”

Lianne Dalziel said that she had been disappointed that the LLA had interpreted the law they way they had, but was pleased that they had now got it right. "It's certainly better late than never," Lianne Dalziel said.

ENDS

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