What is the Government doing to give communities more say in liquor licensing decisions?
The Government has today introduced the Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill, which will give community members the ability to object to licensing applications that affect their communities, and will also give licensing authorities the power to take social impact into account when making licensing decisions. Most important, we are giving real teeth to local alcohol plans by requiring licensing authorities to give effect to them. That means that if a local alcohol plan has a set closing time or a one-way-door policy, then it will become a condition of all licences in that area. I have also today announced a Law Commission review of the sale and supply of liquor, which will give a say to all stakeholders, including the community and industry.
Why did the Government decide to include some measures in the bill and others in the Law Commission review?
Apart from the new provisions I mentioned before, the bill contains provisions that were the subject of earlier work and have broad-based community and industry support. It is important to progress those, and also to address the problem of licensing being issued to dairies by another name, despite Parliament voting in 1999 against the extension to dairies. The Law Commission has been given a very broad brief; in particular, it will look at such matters as the proliferation of specific outlets, the age at which liquor can be purchased, the application of competition law to the sale of liquor, and the management of risk around licensing and enforcement. With Parliament having a conscience vote on liquor issues, the report will give an evidence base for good decision-making.