27 Aug 2015

Bars will open during Rugby World Cup

6:08 am on 27 August 2015

Bars and pubs will be able open for all Rugby World Cup matches after new legislation was passed in Parliament.

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Crowds during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The bill in the name of ACT MP David Seymour allows pubs and bars to open for games throughout the tournament, which is being held in England and Wales.

Kevin Hague.

Kevin Hague Photo: GREEN PARTY

Mr Seymour said the bill would allow New Zealand rugby fans to watch World Cup matches at the pub if they want and have a beer if they choose.

The bill passed by 99 votes to 21 on Wednesday night.

The Greens opposed the legislation saying there were not enough safeguards, and expressed concerns there would be an increase in alcohol related harm and that women and children would bear the brunt.

National said the Greens were 'killjoys'.

Bars will be able to open for an hour before the start of the game and an hour after it is finished, without seeking a special licence.

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Last week, Prime Minister John Key and Justice Minister Amy Adams said they would prefer the games to be limited to All Blacks matches, and the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.

However, the bill, as reported back from Parliament's Justice and Electoral Select Committee, allows for bars to open for all televised matches.

Mr Hague said his party had an undertaking from National that it would ensure the bill that came back to Parliament restricted the number of games.

"We were comfortable with that, but the National Party has also not followed through with its undertaking and the bill will apply to almost 50 games in the Rugby World Cup."

It is understood that the committee had initially agreed to limit the number of games to 16, but was then told the National Party caucus would support the bill on the basis it would cover all games.

Greens grandstanding, says ACT

Mr Seymour said the Greens' concerns over proximity to schools had been considered seriously.

"We took his concerns very, very seriously, we did the work and we decided that his concerns were actually much smaller than he thought.

"It's disappointing to see that he can't respect that process and continues to grandstand on it."

He said only three games occurred on a school morning.

"One of them is the USA vs Japan; one of them is New Zealand vs Namibia and the third, I seem to recall, was a similarly low-profile match."

Prime Minister John Key defended the turnaround on the number of games the bill would cover, saying the decision was purely practical.

"If you have three games that run... one that starts at 4am, the one that starts at 6am, the one that starts at 8am - do you end up having to have an application... how does that all work? It becomes a bit more tricky.

"So generally speaking I think the select committee found a way through," he said.

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