New alcohol laws get interim green light from Police

Monday 23 December 2013, 1:03PM

By New Zealand Police


Police are thanking the New Zealand public for their co-operation since the
Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act became law on Wednesday night.

Inspector Ben Offner said Police were called out to less alcohol related harm
events over the weekend than in previous December weekends.

“It is very early days,” Mr Offner said. “But the signs are positive
that the legislation will reduce alcohol related harm in our community.”

“Police’s focus is very much on prevention rather than enforcement. The
new legislation gives our officers more tools to prevent violence and alcohol
related harm from occurring. ”

“We believe shorter opening hours, on-the-spot fines and stricter
enforcement of under-age identification will in time all reduce alcohol
related harm.”

The new legislation came into effect from one minute past midnight on
Thursday 19 December.

The most visible changes include:

·        off-licenses must close by 11pm

·        on-licenses must close at 4am

·        Police officers will be able to issue alcohol infringement
offence notices (AIONs) for a range of new offences, including breach of
local alcohol bans, lending ID to an under-18 year-old, and presenting a fake
ID ($250 per offence).

Bars that serve intoxicated people, or allow them to remain on the premises
while intoxicated, risk a fine of up to $10,000. Police throughout New
Zealand will use an “alcohol assessment tool” to make consistent
assessments of whether a person is merely under the influence of alcohol or
“intoxicated” as defined in the Act.

Mr Offner said it is too early to evaluate the cumulative effects of all
these changes but it is clear that young New Zealanders will need to adjust
their schedules to accommodate the new laws.

“We expect there to be a period of adjustment and our focus will be on
education and prevention during the busy summer period ahead.”

Mr Offner said the Auckland and Wellington City Council’s had been
instrumental in creating a smooth transition over the weekend by providing
more public transport and helping to educate bar owners and customers of
their new responsibilities.