The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Alcohol Bill could be a major blow for New Zealand wine tourism

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (Community Participation) Bill could be a major blow for New Zealand wine tourism, according to New Zealand Winegrowers.

The Justice Select Committee has reported back on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (Community Participation) Bill which proposes that licensing authorities could decline a renewal of a license where it is inconsistent with conditions on location or licence density in the relevant Local Alcohol Policy (LAP).

“We support the intention of the Bill which is to increase community involvement and to reduce alcohol harm,” says says Philip Gregan, CEO of NZ Winegrowers.

“However, the unintended consequence, which we highlighted to the Committee, is that this Bill could potentially have a huge impact on wine tourism and wine trails.

“This Bill is not supportive of the contribution that wine tourism makes to our regions or New Zealand’s world-renowned wine industry.”

Gregan says cellar doors are traditionally located at the vineyard or winery, which makes sense as this is where the wine is produced.

“They can’t relocate elsewhere, and for wine trails to operate successfully, cellar doors need to be near each other.”

He says the Bill could mean that some cellar doors will now be unable to sell wine and forced to close, if an LAP imposes proximity provisions relating to sites such as schools or a church, or there are restrictions on the density of licenses.

“These provisions would apply irrespective of whether the cellar door is well run or valued by the community.

“This makes little or no sense given cellar doors are one of the lowest risks licenses, where wine is available to be tasted, enjoyed, and purchased.”

NZ Winegrowers says is yet another blow to wine businesses – during a time when they are already struggling with surging production costs, labour shortages, and increasing excise tax.

“It is deeply disappointing that the Committee has not responded to our submission,” says Gregan.

“There is little doubt this Bill will have negative consequences in our wine tourism regions, where wine tourists bring much needed income to support local jobs and businesses.”

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