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March 18, 2013 | by  | in News | [ssba]

A Man Doesn’t Walk Into a Bar

New Legislation Not a Joke: Forces Bars Closed

MPs have put the cork in the bottle, passing new legislation forcing bars to close between 4 and 8am, limiting alcohol promotions, and restricting supermarkets to displaying alcohol in a single, non-prominent area.

The legislation, to be implemented over the next 12 months, is aimed at reducing the heavy drinking culture of our country. Additionally, the reforms introduce an Alcohol Management Strategy that gives local city councils the ability to self-regulate in regards to aspects of the new Act. 

Justice Minister Judith Collins has said the reforms will lead to better practice.

“Improvements in the way alcohol can be sold… but it’s not going to be the full answer, obviously people need to change the culture and their own behaviour”.

Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell believes that the new legislation represents the Government missing an opportunity to tackle New Zealand’s harmful binge drinking, and suggests alternative methods.

“Increasing price of the cheapest alcohol, reducing marketing and advertising, and lowering the BAC [Blood Alcohol Content measure] are both proven measures that will reduce alcohol-related harm”, he said.

Wellington bar owner and Capital Host Clinton den Heyer believes the legislation does nothing to address societal attitudes to intoxication, and steers clear of the minimum pricing and pre-loading arguments in favour of the “soft target” of on-licences.

“There are two aspects to the new Act which I believe are of real concern: one, the Government is now stipulating that every New Zealander has a bedtime, and that bedtime is 4am; and two, the Government thinks it’s better for all of the partying to happen in suburbs rather than in a contained area such as town,” den Heyer told Salient.

The Alcohol Advisory Council show one in four people under the age of 25 regularly drink five or more drinks on a single occasion


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