Alcohol law changes will give communities more say over licensing

Alcohol law changes will give communities more say over licensing

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Changes to the alcohol laws, will allow communities to have more of a say over licensing matters, says Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President, Lawrence Yule.

Next week, amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 will take effect, aimed at minimising the harm caused by excessive drinking and improving New Zealand’s drinking culture.

LGNZ has been working closely with councils to help develop their regional Local Alcohol Policy (LAP), which details the conditions of sale, supply or consumption of alcohol within their region.

“More and more we are seeing communities throughout New Zealand making their voices heard around how alcohol is sold or supplied in their town, suburb or city,” says Mr Yule.

“Councils now have the authority to act on their citizens concerns around the consumption and sale of alcohol, rather than the previous one size fits all approach.”

As part of the changes to the act, councils are responsible for forming District Licensing Committees (DLC’s). These committees will consider, grant or renew any on-licences, off-licences, club licenses, special licenses, temporary permits, and manager’s certificates.

“We understand that these changes can have a knock on effect, and this is why we’ve been working closely with councils to support them through the transition, including providing training and  resources to help shape and guide development of the committees,” says Mr Yule.

The changes that come into effect mark the final stage of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Key features of the changes include:

  • allowing local-level decision-making for all licence applications
  • providing broader grounds for public objections i.e. impact on local amenities and good order
  • requiring express consent of a parent or guardian before supplying alcohol to a minor
  • requiring anyone who supplies alcohol to under 18-year-olds to do so responsibly
  • strengthening the rules around the types of stores eligible to sell alcohol
  • introducing maximum default trading hours for licensed premises
  • restricting supermarket and grocery store alcohol displays to a single area
  • infringement notice offence for breach of liquor control bylaws
  • broader definition of public place which now extends to previously excluded areas such as car parks and school grounds. Section 147 of the Local Government Amendment Act 2012 – Power to make bylaws for alcohol control purposes

General information on the changes to the act can be found here.

*ENDS*

For more information, please contact LGNZ’s Director of Advocacy, Helen Mexted, on 029 924 1221 or email helen.mexted@lgnz.co.nz.