23 Aug 2010

Government to announce liquor law reform measures

12:05 pm on 23 August 2010

The Government will on Monday announce a reform of liquor laws, which will target drinking by young people and public nuisance.

Justice Minister Simon Power is giving little away ahead of the announcement.

Details were leaked to The Sunday Star Times. While Mr Power would not confirm the report, he did not deny it.

But he has confirmed that communities will have more say over the number of liquor outlets in their neighbourhoods.

A Radio New Zealand political reporter says the reforms are likely to include plans to raise the legal purchasing age to 20 years at off-licences, but 18-year-olds will still be allowed to drink in bars and pubs.

The Government will introduce the reform package to Parliament in October and hopes it will pass before the end of next year. They follow recommendations by the Law Commission.

The Maori and United Future Parties will support the bill's first reading so the issues can be considered by a select committee.

Labour MP Lianne Dalziel says the report shows the Government is too timid to get tough on drinking.

Alcohol Action, a lobby group led by doctors, describes the changes as weak and deeply disappointing.

Home rules also

The Government's changes to the liquor laws will also include tougher rules for parents providing alcohol to young people in their homes.

The Law Commission recommended making it an offence to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, unless they were that person's parent, or had their parent's permission.

Prime Minister John Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme that parents will need to get approval before supplying alcohol to their children's friends, for example at a party.