New Zealand’s Tougher Alcohol Law Takes Effect Next Week

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 11, 2013 9:57 AM EST

To reduce harm caused by alcohol, New Zealand's drinking laws were recently amended, and the tougher regulations take effect next week. Introduced under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, the changes aim to alter the drinking culture in the country by responsible sale and supply of alcohol.

Slated to be effective on Dec 18, the new law considers it an offence if alcohol is promoted in a way that appeals to minors. By having a clearer definition of what the term intoxication means would allow licensees to meet their obligation to no longer serve more drinks to intoxicated customers or even let them enter drinking establishments.

With the new licensing criteria, the licences are easier to lose but more difficult to get it. This, supermarkets and groceries are mandated to limit display of alcohol in a single area, and even the maximum trading hours for on-licences such as bars, clubs and restaurants are specified from 8 am to 4 am, while for off-licences establishments such as supermarkets, liquor stores and wine shops, it is shorter from 7 am to 11 pm.

The new rules also bans serving of alcohol to minors at home, unless with the approval by the parent or guardian. The penalty for violators is a fine of up to NZ$2,000.

In preparation for the new but tougher laws, the Auckland Council, Hospitality NZ, Auckland Transport and Police worked closely on a public information campaign to require on-licences establishments to close at 4 am sharp. The move is expected to affect 300 operators in central Auckland.

To help these club patrons reach their respective homes safely, extra transport would be provided to Auckland residents.

YouTube/Tudor Clee Barrister

But in the future, determination of the maximum trading hours in Auckland would be handled by the region's local alcohol policy.

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