Alcohol Reform Bill - Submission

NZPA | Thu February 17th, 2011

The Police Association welcomes the opportunity to submit on the Alcohol Reform Bill. Problems associated with alcohol misuse have a major impact on members in both their professional capacity, and as members of the communities affected.

We believe that we need to be conscious of the need to strike the right balance between regulation and enforcement, and New Zealanders’ expectations of acceptable behaviour as we tighten the law through this Bill.

A vast majority of members support raising the drinking age to 20. The split age proposed in the Bill of 18 for on-licence purchases and 20 for off-licence purchases is viewed as a step in the right direction.

We support restricting the hours of trade but we are concerned that the Bill allows these levels to be further extended by Local Alcohol Policies. The measures contained in the Bill regarding greater regulation of parental supply of alcohol to children are encouraging too.

We welcome the Bill’s intention to retain the licensing exemption for Police bars, as these provide a safe place to for police to socialise. We also welcome the provisions in the Bill which give Police the authority to close premises immediately and allows for greater use of infringement notices to deal with a range of offences, including for breaches of liquor bans.

It is also worth noting that while the issue of drink-driving limits is outside the scope of this Bill, we recognise it as an issue of serious concern to members and we propose that the permissible blood alcohol limit for adult drivers be reduced to 50mg /100ml of blood.

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