The Green Party will today vote against David Seymour’s Rugby World Cup booze Bill after National and Act went back on their word to improve the Bill, and problems with special licences proved to be exaggerated at best.
“We would have absolutely supported a Bill that allowed Kiwis to watch the rugby at bars during key World Cup games, as long as all of the appropriate safety and anti-harm measures were also included,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.
“We supported the Bill to Select Committee on the understanding that National and Act were prepared to make changes to make the Bill better and reduce the potential harm caused by drinking in all bars to all hours of the morning.
“We were prepared to find some middle ground but it seems the Government has not only gone back on its undertakings to us, but has ignored the serious concerns raised by the Police, Women’s Refuge and others.
“The Select Committee was warned that there is a clear link between bar opening hours and domestic violence that all politicians should be taking into consideration.
“The Prime Minister himself originally said the Bill should be restricted to All Blacks games and yet we’ve ended up with bars being allowed to open for every single game.
“MPs were warned about the dangers of allowing near round-the-clock drinking during the World Cup, even in bars that are near schools and kindergartens.
“The Government has also set a dangerous precedent by abandoning our existing special licensing laws, which were designed to accommodate events like the Rugby World Cup.
“The Select Committee saw no evidence at all of any problems with the special licensing laws and, if there were, making up laws on the fly isn’t the way to deal with them,” said Mr Hague.