The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Proposed changes to Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act

The Government has announced changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 which will remove the ability to appeal local alcohol policies (LAPs).

The current appeal process is costing councils and ratepayers millions in legal fees, according to the Government, as alcohol companies and supermarkets have thwarted efforts by local councils to limit the sale of alcohol in their communities.

Justice Minister Kiri Allan announced the proposed changes this week, saying local communities should be able to set their own rules to reduce alcohol harm, but are being blocked by the liquor industry.

“When the Act was introduced by the National government, it aimed to ensure the safe and responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.

“But the Act hasn’t worked as intended, creating a system that leaves communities struggling and silenced in their fight against the powerful alcohol industry.”

Allen says five New Zealand Councils have abandoned their efforts to put harm reduction plans in place after facing expensive and lengthy legal opposition.

“My top priority is to bring power back to the people. That’s why the first phase will focus on immediate reforms to licensing procedures,” she says.

The Government is also looking to amend rules around the public’s ability to object to a new or renewed alcohol licence application and how objectors can make their case at a licensing hearing.

A Bill proposing procedural changes to the alcohol licensing process will be introduced this year, with the aim of passing it into law by mid-next year.

“While no decisions have been made our intention is to tilt the balance away from the alcohol industry towards giving community a greater voice and ensuring we are doing more to address the significant impact alcohol has on our communities, whānau and health system,” says Allen.

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