School warned: Raffling alcohol illegal

19:41, Jul 10 2014

An Invercargill school has been given a warning after having a raffle that included alcohol as a prize.

Ruru Special School's goodie bag for the lucky ticket holder included wine and beer, which is illegal.

A complaint was made to police about the raffle at the school's market day two weeks ago.

Principal Erin Cairns confirmed the school had received a visit from police regarding a breach of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. However, the breach was simply an innocent mistake, she said.

"We didn't know. We had a lack of knowledge and understanding around the liquor licence laws," Cairns said.

"We were simply raising funds for a charity our students chose to support this year."


The school's students often chose a charity to help because it was their way of giving back to the community who supported the school, Cairns said.

"We have spoken to police and they have accepted our explanation and apology."

The Ministry of Education's website warns educational institutions it is illegal to raffle alcohol.

Sergeant John Harris, the officer in charge of the alcohol harm reduction unit, said a complaint was passed on to police from the Invercargill City Council after a parent complained.

The complaint centred on the fact the school was selling raffle tickets in a lucky dip and had bottles of beer and wine as prizes, Harris said. "The council requested police speak with someone from the school."

The school was informed alcohol was a prohibited prize for a raffle or game of chance and Cairns assured police and the council a similar incident would not happen again.

"It was more of an educational action for an unintentional breach, Harris said.

"Many people and community organisations who are just trying to raise funds for nonprofit are unaware of rules," he said.

"But if the council or police received a complaint, they had to act."


It is illegal to offer the following as prizes:

A firearm, explosive (including ammunition), restricted weapon or airgun


Tobacco products

A taonga tuturu (an object more than 50 years old that relates to Maori culture, history or society, and was manufactured, modified, used, or brought into New Zealand by Maori)

Vouchers or entitlements to commercial sexual services

Vouchers or entitlements to any of the other property listed above

The Southland Times