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Alcohol Law Changes – Frightening For Small Businesses: Says NZIBA

On 30th October 2022, Justice Minister Kiri Allan announced the Government would be removing the ability for alcohol companies and retailers to challenge a community’s local alcohol policies, an appeals process she said was costing councils and ratepayers “millions” in legal fees.

While the final policy details are yet to be finalized and implemented once it is discussed in the Parliament Select Committee, to be introduced as a law by mid-2023 the announcement has sent shivering waves through the industry watchdog bodies and in particular, the small business operators, as these changes could potentially endanger the livelihood of many retailers in the industry who have invested high stakes in the business operations, mostly family own and operated.

NZ Indian Business Association (NZIBA) acknowledges the fact that in certain regions, the impact of alcohol harm in the community is a subject of concern, at the same time, introducing the Bill in its current shape as a Law would adversely affect many in the industry where the problem does not exist. It will be totally unfair to tilt the balance in a way that the targeted category is devoid of their basic right to seek justice through an appeal process, which is currently in place. The NZ Indian Business Association has received feedback from many small retailers that there needs to be a thorough and detailed review by experts in the industry before any changes are finalized and such a serious matter cannot be pushed through in a biased manner to achieve political scores.

NZIBA will keep advocating for these small businesses through media, meeting the political party representatives & other agencies, to raise their genuine concerns and prevent the changes to take shape of a Law in its current form.

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