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Government SOP to improve Alcohol Bill

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

22 August 2012

Government SOP to improve Alcohol Bill

Justice Minister Judith Collins today released the Government’s final supplementary order paper (SOP) to the Alcohol Reform Bill set to return to Parliament soon.

Ms Collins says the SOP will improve the Bill’s workability and effectiveness, and addresses detailed policy issues arising from consultation and recommendations.

Key amendments include:

• clarifying rules for restricting alcohol display and advertising in supermarkets to a single non-prominent area of the store making it clear that this area cannot be at the entrance of the store or at a check-out

• introducing express parental consent and responsible supply requirements for supply to minors (most young people get alcohol from their parents (57%) or friends over 18 (28%))

• extending the Bill’s responsible supply requirement to minors to include 18 and 19-year-olds, and

• introducing a regulation-making power to enable the Government to restrict sales of RTDs at any time in the future.

“The SOP strengthens and makes more effective the Bill’s broad set of measures to reduce alcohol-related harm in our families and communities,” Ms Collins says.

“This includes making it harder for young people to access alcohol. The Bill in its present form does not go far enough in these areas.

“This Government supports a shift in drinking culture, away from excess drinking towards responsible, moderate alcohol consumption.

“This is the first time in more than two decades the Government is acting to restrict rather than relax our drinking laws. We’re taking action but we can’t do it alone. New Zealand as a whole needs to shape up too.

“Problem drinking is an issue for us all. Everyone needs to play their part – from Parliament to local government, communities, parents, Police, the alcohol industry, and other groups and agencies. This Bill supplies the tools for that to happen,” Ms Collins says.

The changes in the SOP add to the Bill’s key proposals to reduce alcohol-related harm, which include:
• raising the purchase age for off-licences from 18 to 20 years
• increasing the ability of local communities to have a say on alcohol licensing
• strengthening rules about the types of stores eligible to sell alcohol
• introducing maximum default trading hours for licensed premises
• restricting supermarkets and grocery stores to displaying alcohol in a single area
• introducing a risk-based licence fee regime to recover licensing costs.

ENDS

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