Liquor bill a 'diversion'

Last updated 08:56 02/05/2012
KEVIN HAGUE: "The Government needed something to be talking about and diverting attention away from the real issues of the day."

Related Links

Second hurdle for alcohol law reform bill Teens may face extra hurdle to get booze

Relevant offers


Education Minister Hekia Parata announces Marlborough colleges decision Live Chat replay: Chief Social Worker Paul Nixon talks child abuse in NZ Partner of Kiwi detainee speaks out about detention centre struggles Jenny Shipley: Why we need a silver fern flag Faces of Innocents: Too many children are dying, are we about to break another promise? Children's flag referendum views are being heard by voters in their families 'Our job is not to censor. We're not serving the political elite, business or corporations' Stacey Kirk: Strewth! Join Australia? They're a bunch of flaming galahs! 'I don't want to be prime minister' – Jacinda Ardern Jacinda Ardern in da House – from red carpet celebrity to green leather politician

The Greens are accusing a "beleaguered" Government of using alcohol reforms to divert attention away from controversies such as the John Banks donation affair.

Justice Minister Judith Collins yesterday announced minor changes would be made to alcohol reform legislation which will return to Parliament next month.

Under the changes, the sale of ready-to-drink alcohol beverages (RTDs) will be restricted, and dairies and small convenience shops will be banned from selling alcohol.

Greens health spokesman Kevin Hague said the Government would normally consult opposition parties on changes to legislation "where numbers are tight" and suggested they had been brought forward.

"The Government needed something to be talking about and diverting attention away from the real issues of the day.

"Ordinarily I don't think the Government would have bothered to announce these changes, they certainly wouldn't have called a media conference."

The Government was "beleaguered" over major issues such as the investigations into ACC's privacy breach, concern about its deal with Sky City to build a national convention centre in return for more pokie machines, and the police investigation into whether John Banks knew donations declared as anonymous had come from the Auckland casino and German billionaire Kim Dotcom.

The Government's announcement on Monday about measures to stop boat people was a similar diversion, Hague said.

"For goodness sake, where is there a record of a problem of boats arriving in New Zealand that we have to deal with?

"There is none. It is entirely a smoke screen, and this is too."

The Government had a "once in a generation" opportunity to undertake a major overhaul of alcohol laws that the Law Commission had recommended and New Zealand needed to change its drinking culture, he said.

"The initial Bill didn't do that and some people probably thought because of the time they were taking to progress it through the House, that potentially there were other changes they were making to make it better."

There was "major disappointment" in yesterday's announcement.

"It doesn't make the major impact it needs to on price, hours and availability, which are the things that make the big difference."

The weak reform was a sop to the liquor industry which had been pushing for a split purchasing age, Hague said.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff


Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?



Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content