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The solution to under-threat BYO at race meetings

More than a year after Racing Minister Winston Peters said he’d take action about Police opposing liquor licences for the traditional BYO at the races, he’s done nothing, MP for Hutt South Chris Bishop says.

“Winston Peters has talked a big game on this issue, going as far as calling the people who have tried to stop BYOs ‘bureaucratic shiny bums’.

“Race meetings are important community events held around the country and usually run by volunteer committees. Clubs obtain a special licence (or hold an on-licence) for a designated area and allow the rest of the course to be available for bring-your-own alcohol consumption.

“In recent years Police have been opposing liquor licenses. Many regional racing clubs lack the infrastructure to offer hospitality services and for many years patrons have been bringing their own food and drink to the course on race days, but this summer tradition is under threat.

“Some race meets have allowed BYO for more than 135 years. While we understand Police want to address the harm caused by alcohol, they should concentrate on areas where there is actually a problem and not family-friendly events like race meets.

“Mr Peters has even introduced a new Racing Bill to Parliament, but says BYO areas were not included because they are not supported by government partners, which can only mean the Greens.

“Yet again the National Party stands ready to offer our support for our hard-working racing clubs and come to the Government’s aid. It should adopt my Members’ Bill forthwith. My Bill will make it clear that racing clubs and racing meetings are not the intended target of section 235 of the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act.

“The Bill provides an exemption from section 235 for racing clubs on the days of race meetings when the club holds an on-site special licence that applies to the race meeting.

“This is just a common sense change to the law that will allow the status quo to remain at community run race meets. It will mean the age-old Kiwi tradition of a glass of wine or beer in the sun with some chips and dip can continue.”

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