Minister's meeting to explain proposed liquor law changes

Lianne Dalziel says import tariffs will be held at 2009 levels for two years. photo by Linda...
Lianne Dalziel says import tariffs will be held at 2009 levels for two years. photo by Linda Robertson
Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel will be in Dunedin next week to help clear up some misconceptions surrounding the Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill.

Since the proposed liquor law changes were announced several weeks ago, Ms Dalziel said there had been some "interesting reactions" from the media and members of the public.

She will be in Dunedin on Thursday to discuss the reform and review of the liquor laws at the Otago Chamber of Commerce from 2.30pm to 4pm and has invited members of the hospitality industry, retailers, police, local government, health groups and the general public to put forward their views.

Ms Dalziel said the Bill did three important things.

"It allows liquor licensing authorities to take social impact into account when making licensing decisions; it gives communities greater say in liquor licensing decisions by requiring licensing authorities to give effect to local alcohol plans; and it provides the closest this country has come to having a drinking age, making it an offence for adults to supply alcohol to minors without their parents' consent."

These were very important steps in putting the power for controlling the availability of liquor back in the hands of local communities and parents, she said.

The Bill also tackled serious youth issues and included a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 who did not hold a full licence; repealing the "reasonable belief" defence for sale or supply of liquor to a minor; and a "three strikes, you're out" provision for any liquor outlet manager prosecuted for supplying alcohol to minors.

Ms Dalziel said there had been a public focus on the possibility convenience stores might be prohibited from selling alcohol.

In 1999, Parliament voted against dairies selling wine and beer, but that was circumvented by convenience stores being granted licences.

Store sizes had been incorporated into the Bill so "Parliament's intention" could be upheld, she said.

"These changes . . . are directed at meeting community expectations around the availability of alcohol," she said.



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