Thank you for your interest in supporting a wide review of our liquor laws.
In March 2021, the Minister of Justice announced that there would be a review of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (our main law that controls the sale and supply of alcohol).
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi told Newsroom that he believed it would be beneficial to review the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, and he was assessing the ability to do that within what was already a fairly full work programme in the Justice portfolio.
The timing and scope of any review would be subject to Cabinet consideration and approval, he said.
How narrow or wide the review will be is to be determined by Cabinet in this Parliamentary term. We understand that a decision could be made shortly.
It is important to remember that one of the priority objectives of our 2012 laws was to "improve community input into local alcohol licensing decisions". This has not happened - see below.
Support a wide review of the Act
Major changes are needed to our liquor laws to reduce alcohol harm and related inequities. The 2012 laws have failed to reduce alcohol use, alcohol harm and inequities across Aotearoa.
The law has failed because it didn't address the three main contributors to alcohol use = the low price of alcohol, its high availability and pervasive advertising and sponsorship.
The laws aimed to address the availability of alcohol in communities by handing power to Councils to set local alcohol polices on the number of alcohol outlets, their location, and their trading hours. But so many of these policies have been appealed by the supermarket duopoly and bottle stores. This has meant that Council local alcohol policies have been watered down, so they are not as effective as they could be. Some Councils have given up the policy process after spending huge sums of money. Some Councils have chosen not to develop a policy at all.
NZers won't reap the vast benefits our country drinking less unless we address the low price of alcohol, its high availability and widespread marketing.
Many community groups, DHBs, non-governmental health organisations, and academics have written to the Minister calling on Cabinet to implement a wide review of the Act. If we tinker with the existing Act, we will see no meaningful change for this generation and the next.
So we call on you to write to the Minister also. We give examples of letters below.
Key facts to support your letter
New Zealand research shows alcohol is more affordable than ever before, sold for as little as 77c per standard drink
The alcohol industry spends $60m per year on alcohol advertising (not including sponsorship)
Our approach to tobacco should be adopted for alcohol
The supermarkets have appealed 86% of council draft local alcohol policies, bottle stores have appealed 72%
We need to get rid of the appeals process so communities can have more say
Communities struggle to be successful in fighting against new liquor outlets in their neighbourhoods