A last-minute change in Parliament will have the Alcohol
Reform Bill put through its third and final reading next month,
bringing forward likely requirements for Dunedin bar owners to
pay higher fees.
At its meeting this week, the Dunedin City Council's planning
and environment committee was told the Bill would not be
considered until some time next year.
That advice came from DCC liquor licensing and projects
officer Kevin Mechen, who said the Bill was No 20 on the
parliamentary order paper as of Tuesday morning.
But on Wednesday, Parliament's business select committee
determined that the remaining committee stage of the Bill
would be set down as Government order of the day No 1 on
It also determined debate would take place on Part 6 of the
Bill relating to licensing trusts, community and other
matters, the new Part 8 about amendments to excise tax and
excise-equivalent duties tables, and the new Part 11 which
was an amendment to the Land Transport Act 1998.
At 5.30pm on December 6 any questions on the Bill would be
considered as well as any motion to divide the document,
without further debate.
The order of the day for the third reading of the Bill would
be taken on December 11, the committee determined.
Fast-tracking the Bill means Dunedin publicans are closer to
implementation of its requirements, likely to include a
doubling of application fees and shorter renewal periods.
Additional work placed on the city council was also likely to
mean associated costs passed on to liquor licence applicants
under the new legislation.
During its initial stages Dunedin bar owners warned the Bill
would force premises to close as a result of increased fees.
The council was waiting for a final report on how changes
would affect the city, which would be drafted once the Bill
passed its third reading.
Yesterday, Mr Mechen said although the Bill would be
considered before Christmas, there would be no immediate
impact on Dunedin businesses.
A new fee structure was part of the associated Sale and
Supply of Alcohol Regulations, which traditionally took 12
months to be passed by Parliament, he said.
"Businesses can expect to pay more for their licences from
about this time next year."
Mr Mechen said new licensing criteria would apply six months
after the Act was implemented, which might impact on some
"But until the law goes through the final reading, the new
criteria won't be known for sure," he said.
The council was as ready as it could be, without knowing the
"There will be quite a lot of work going forward because new
structures are needed and new processes to fit with these,"
Mr Mechen said.