2 May 2012

Govt accused of using liquor laws as smokescreen

6:39 am on 2 May 2012

Justice Minister Judith Collins has confirmed dozens of changes recommended by select committee last term will be introduced into the Alcohol Reform Bill in the form of a supplementary order paper.

The bill contains new rules restricting the sale of ready-to-drink alcohol beverages (RTDs) in off-licences and bans dairies and smaller convenience shops from selling alcohol.

The legislation proposes to split the age people can buy alcohol: 18 for premises such as bars and restaurants, and 20 for the likes of supermarkets and liquor stores.

Ms Collins says the Government's supplementary order paper will be introduced during the committee stages of the bill in the next few weeks and will include new provisions such as boosting the level of parental responsibility.

Green Party MP, Kevin Hague says the minister is making a big deal about nothing, and he believes it is a smokescreen to divert public attention from scandals over ACC, John Banks and SkyCity.

The Labour Party says it is disappointed it hasn't been consulted on the supplementary changes, after requesting a meeting with Ms Collins several weeks ago.

Ms Collins expects to have the bill passed into law within six months.