4 Nov 2015

Post-birth bubbles given the all clear

8:07 am on 4 November 2015

A High Court judge has ruled an Auckland maternity hospital can continue serving alcohol to new mothers.

Newborn baby

Photo: 123RF

New parents, their families and visitors at the Birthcare centre have the option of buying 185ml bottles of red or white wine to have with their meals.

The wine has been on the menu since 2001, but Birthcare's 2014 application to renew the licence was opposed by Auckland's Medical Officer of Health, who provided expert evidence about the harm alcohol has on the foetus, and on newborns through breastfeeding.

The licence was granted by the District Licence Committee, and was further approved by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

An appeal was then made to the High Court on points of law, but has been dismissed by Justice Moore.

Among his findings, he said there was a prominent health warning on the menu, the wine was only a small part of the service offered, there are no figures as to who was actually drinking the wine bought, and sales were low anyway.

In 2013, the centre had almost 3800 patients, and sold 155 mini-bottles of wine.