Attached is a Minority Report from the Justice & Electoral Select Committee which oversaw the Rugby World Cup Drinking Bill. The Report was written by Green MP Kevin Hague who is a member of the Select Committee. This Report provides an excellent political overview of issues related to the Bill that was rushed through Parliament yesterday.
It is noteworthy that existing alcohol sale regulations have already worked well in relation to the upcoming Rugby World cup in terms of issuing Special Licences for the event to those licensed premises which have applied.
But the alcohol industry (Hospitality Association) can be relied upon to be irritated by any impediment which limits their sale of alcohol including going through the process of gaining a Special Licence. It is strongly rumoured that the Hospitality Association has been working behind the scenes and may have even helped draft the new legislation, which side-steps these local democratic processes.
ACT, National, United Future, New Zealand First, and most of the Labour caucus facilitated the speedy passing of this legislation yesterday; six Labour MPs (Ruth Dyson, Nanaia Mahuta, Jenny Salesa, Su’a William Sio, Meka Whaitiri, Poto Williams), and all Maori and Green MPs voted against it. The vote was therefore carried 99 versus 22.
Parliament has demonstrated how it can certainly get its skates on when it comes to responding to issues when it really wants to or feels the political need to, which on this occasion has included responding to the call of the alcohol industry. The prioritisation of this Drinking Bill over numerous other bills of real national significance currently waiting for House time once again demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the flow of alcohol in New Zealand over doing anything substantial to deal with the enormous health and social damage alcohol is causing.
Those 22 MPs who voted against the Bill were brave to put their hands up for principle while everyone else were playing politics.
Suggestion: Send a congratulatory email to those 22 MPs, or at least some whom you feel a particular affinity with
Final Comment: This Bill will very likely increase alcohol harm during the six weeks of the Rugby World Cup but the extent is small compared with the other 202 weeks between Rugby World Cups.
It’s time to get back to the core business of working towards effective alcohol reform through the MPAAD 5+ Solution (Marketing, Pricing, Accessibility, Age of purchase, Drink driving PLUS Increasing treatment for heavy drinkers).
Doug, Jennie, Sam and Geoff
Medical Spokespeople, Alcohol Action NZ