Booze bill targets supermarket sales
Supermarkets will only be able to store and advertise alcohol in one “non-prominent” part of their premises, if the Alcohol Reform Bill becomes law.
The justice and electoral select committee reported back on the bill late yesterday [Thursday] and the government accepted all 130 substantive changes to existing legislation that it recommended.
Justice Minister Simon Power said the change to the rules surrounding supermarket sales of alcohol was to reduce concern about the normalising effect of alcohol sales alongside other everyday household goods, and to reduce the exposure of young people to alcohol.
Among its other provisions are a split drinking age of 18 for bars and 20 for off-licence purchases, alcohol limits for ready-to-drink beverages and reduced opening hours.
More than 8000 submissions on the bill were received and the select committee was granted two extensions, having originally been due to report back in May.
Mr Power said he intended to see the bill through its second reading before parliament rose on October 6.
It’s anticipated that most changes will be in force within 12 months of the legislation being passed, he said.
Cabinet has also agreed to establish an expert forum to consider the effectiveness of further restrictions on advertising and sponsorship to reduce alcohol-related harm, Mr Power said.
The forum could examine current research and international developments, as well as the outcomes from the Advertising Standard Authority’s current review of the code for advertising liquor, Mr Power said.
“The forum could also consider what impact further restrictions, such as those proposed by the Law Commission, would have on the recipients of sponsorship funding, such as community organisations and sports teams.”
Officials are working to have the terms of reference confirmed by the end of the year, he said, with forum members to be appointed early next year.
“The forum will report back to the ministers of justice and health within a year of the bill being passed on whether they consider further restrictions should be made.”