Bars, restaurants and liquor stores will be forced to move to
new trading hours and tighter alcohol rules in their peak
season, the Hospitality Association says as the Government
moves to pass alcohol reforms into law.
Legislation to minimise alcohol-related harm will come back
before Parliament for its final hurdle this week, and is
expected to be passed into law on December 11.
Most of the law changes were due to come into effect 12
months after the passing of the bill, which meant alcohol
sellers and licensing authorities would have to adjust to the
new rules immediately before Christmas in 2013.
The Hospitality Association is asking Justice Minister Judith
Collins to delay this to February 2014.
Chief executive Bruce Robertson said the law changes were
diverse and complex.
"The timing is a little problematic. Introducing major
changes to liquor legislation 10 days out from Christmas and
New Year is not that good for anybody - it's a tough ask."
The bill set national trading hours of 7am to 11pm for bottle
shops and 8am to 4am for bars and restaurants.
About 1000 premises hold 24-hour licences in New Zealand.
Mr Robertson was concerned about new licence fees which
reflected the "risk" of a venue.
At present, all sellers of alcohol pay the same licensing
fee, but the bill would introduce new charges based on a
venue's size, trading hours and previous conduct.
"These will have costs associated with them at a time when
the industry is struggling pretty hard.
"There's no fat there ... and some businesses might be forced
to close," Mr Robertson said.
Bars, restaurants and liquor stores would not know of the
specific changes for 12 months because the bill also gave new
powers to communities to set their own rules.
Territorial authorities would be able to introduce different
trading hours to the national limits, ban entry to clubs
after 3am, or prevent liquor stores from opening near
Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomed the final stages of the
He had urged the minister to pass the legislation as soon as
possible to help curb antisocial behaviour caused by drinking
in parts of Auckland.
Mr Brown organised a taskforce in June to combat alcohol
harm, and said some of the taskforce's initiatives, such as
one-way door policies in clubs, could now be considered by
communities throughout the city.
The Labour Party sought national-level alcohol policies that
helped protect communities.
Its South Auckland MPs tabled amendments to ban alcohol sales
near schools, but these were voted down.
Mrs Collins said at the time it was not a good idea to set
universal rules because poor suburbs such as Manurewa would
want tougher limits than wealthy areas like Remuera.
The New Zealand Drug Foundation welcomed the introduction of
local alcohol policies, but wanted them to be made
The foundation believed the cost and lengthy process of
drafting a policy would prevent communities from making
changes in their area.
Liquor law changes
What are the main changes?
New powers for communities to set their own rules on alcohol,
bans on grocery stores selling liquor, ban on sale of alcohol
from bottle shops between 11pm and 7am and in bars from 4am
to 8am, restricted advertising of alcohol in supermarkets,
express consent from parents needed for minors to drink, and
licence fees charged according to the "risk" associated with
How will the changes affect bars and their managers?
Bars will not be able to stay open between 4am and 8am unless
their local community decides to allow longer trading hours.
One-way door policies or even stricter hours could also be
introduced if communities wish to.
Bars or managers who break liquor laws three times in three
years could have their licence or certificate cancelled for
five years. Licence fees will be decided according to a
venue's past record, size and capacity.
How will the changes affect buyers?
Alcohol will not be available between 4am and 8am, and beer,
wine and spirits will no longer be available from grocery
How will the changes affect parents and minors?
Parents must give express consent to underage children to
consume alcohol - in person, by text or phone call, or in
writing. If they fail to supply alcohol in a responsible
manner they are liable for a $2000 fine. People using fake ID
or lending ID for alcohol consumption face fines or
How will the changes affect the alcohol industry?
The industry must draw up a code for sale of ready-to-drink
beverages. It it does not, Government may step in and set
limits on the sale of "alcopops".
When will the changes occur?
Some in 6 months, but most will be implemented in 12 months'
- Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald