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Alcohol harm drives Maori Party to propose Bill changes

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Maori Party is proposing significant amendments to address alcohol related harm by making changes to the Alcohol Reform Bill including the restrictions around proximity of liquor stores to schools and tightening up the criteria around trading hours.

"Alcohol is killing up to a thousand New Zealanders each year, and in one third of all crimes the offender had consumed alcohol prior to the offence," said Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki.

"If these statistics were not enough, then one only needs to look at our young people to know we must do all we can to save lives and keep our families from further harm. Nearly one-fifth of all deaths for males and one-tenth of all deaths for females aged between 20 and 24 are attributable to alcohol misuse," he adds.

"No matter how you look at it, alcohol harm is a huge issue and it is sapping our communities of their greatest potential."

"The Maori Party has been speaking out about the ongoing concerns relating to easy access to alcohol. We supported the efforts of the local community in opposing the application of a Cannons Creek liquor outlet for a licence to sell liquor directly opposite school gates and have been concerned that in Whanganui alone there have been four stores open up in just over a year."

"The Maori Party believes that more can be done to prevent the harm which is associated with alcohol misuse and abuse in too many of our homes".

"Our changes will ensure that alcohol cannot be bought anywhere between the hours of 3am - 10am and includes a 'lockdown period' from 1am - 3am for on-licence retailers"

"Our amendments also include provision for the Minister of Health to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol."

"Our bill will limit the visibility of alcohol advertising and sponsorship in an effort to de-normalise alcohol. This includes grocery stores, where alcohol will need to be kept out of public view."

"To address the high number of liquor outlets, we will have a sinking lid policy within territorial authorities so that over time we will gradually lessen the number of outlets. To ensure that smaller towns are not left without an outlet, the sinking lid only applies if there is another liquor store within 5km."

"Finally, we need to give more community input into tackling alcohol harm. We have seen some heroic action taken by local communities right throughout the country, in trying to put in place protections around the sale and purchase of alcohol. Our bill will make the proximity to a school a criteria for determining liquor licences and ensure Maori representation is included in the membership of the local committees who determine liquor licences."

Maori Party SOP details:

- Make the proximity to a school a criteria for determining liquor licenses

- Local committees to expand by one to accommodate a mana whenua representative

- Limit the visibility of advertising/product in grocery stores and grocery shops (so they are not visible in the store, but they are able to be sold)

- Eliminate advertising and sponsorship of alcohol except inside on-licence premises

- Sinking lid policy on off-licence retailers (liquor stores) within territorial authorities (replacement of existing stores is the only exception and only if there is not another liquor store within 5km)

- Trading hours: Changed to 10am - 10pm for off-site, 10am - 3am for on-licence premises with a one-way door restriction period from 1am - 3am

- Minimum price per unit of alcohol sold (which will be set by Minister of Health) - this follows the model proposed in Scotland

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