Law extending bar hours for RWC passes despite Greens opposition

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 5:50PM
The Greens did not feel the bill was necessary. (Photo / Getty)
The Greens did not feel the bill was necessary. (Photo / Getty)

The Greens were the only party in Parliament to oppose a bill that will extend how long bars will be able to stay open for, to show Rugby World Cup games.

Despite the Greens opposition, the bill passed into law this evening with 112 votes to eight.

National, Labour, NZ First, Act and independent MP Jami-Lee Ross all supported the bill.

A spokesman for the Greens said the party had not seen any evidence that the bill is necessary.

"Given the special licensing provisions already available in the Act which allow premises to apply for extended hours, and the fact that premises can also remain open without serving alcohol, we don't see the need for these changes."

Speaking to the bill Greens co-leader Marama Davidson called the bill a "gift" to the alcohol industry.

Green MP Jan Jogie said the bill was linking alcohol with rugby which sends the wrong message to New Zealanders when the country already has issues with alcohol being abused.

Usually when a bill passes its first reading, it goes into a select committee before heading back to the House before two more readings.

However, as this bill needed to be passed urgently before the World Cup begins, it was rushed through Parliament tonight.

The only debate of the bill was during its second reading.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that Cabinet had given the green light to the extension of bars opening hours during the Rugby World Cup.

The Government introduced the legislation to Parliament this afternoon.

When made law, it will mean licensed premises, such as bars, will be able to show World Cup games outside their usual trading hours.

"The Bill needs to be enacted by September 10 because licensees will need to give at least seven days' notice to their council and police if they are going to extend their trading hours," Ardern told media at post-cab on Monday.

"The changes will apply until the final, where I hope, of course, as a nation, we will be joining together to watch our All Blacks."

The bill is very similar to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act passed through Parliament in 2015 when the World Cup was in the UK and there was an 11 hour time difference.

Japan, however, is only three hours behind New Zealand – or four once daylight savings begins at the end of September, Ardern said.

"So, fewer premises will need to take advantage of the changes. But those that choose to will now be able to open."

 

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