Alcohol Regulation

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Sensible policies that reduce harm


The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 introduced raft of changes relating to the regulation of alcohol in New Zealand. The purpose of the new law is to ensure the safe and responsible sale, supply, and consumption of alcohol and to minimise harm caused by its excessive or inappropriate use.

During the development of the legislation and as the changes have been implemented, Retail NZ has advocated for a sensible approach that does not unduly impact responsible customers. There are early signs that the Act is having a positive effect. The overall consumption of alcohol in New Zealand has reduced, alcohol litres per head of population fell 5.8 per cent between 2010 and 2015*. However, the full effect of the changes are not yet known.

A key change under the new Act enables local Councils to develop Local Alcohol Policies to make local rules about alcohol licencing if they choose to. Retailers are working constructively with Councils on the development of these documents to ensure the regulation have an effect on specific local problems where evidence shows that they exist. In many cases, restricting trading hours beyond the national default hours for off-licences (7.00am to 11.00pm) will have a limited effect on reducing the harm caused by the excessive or inappropriate use of alcohol. Everyday New Zealanders enjoy alcohol responsibly and regulatory responses need to be targeted to address the real causes of harm.

Advice about drinking responsibly can be found on the Cheers.org.nz website.

*Statistics NZ - Alcohol available for consumption, litres of alcohol per head of population (annual-Jun).


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