The Law Commission Recommendations

The Law Commission has completed its review of New Zealand's liquor laws and has released its report of the findings entitled Alcohol in our lives: Curbing the Harm.

The Government has d the responded to the report and unveiled its alcohol law reform package. The package adopts in full, or in part, 126 of the 153 Law Commission recommendations. You can view all the Government's recommendations in their Alcohol Law Reform Cabinet Paper.

The Government has now released the Alcohol Reform Bill and more details about the public submission process are available under the "Government Law Reform" ssection.

Jun 2010 - The Law Commission's Recommendations; extracted from their Alcohol in Our Lives: Curbing the Harm April 2010  By Alcohol Healthwatch

About the Law Commission Review

Submissions closed -30 October 2009.

The Law Commission review aims to examine all aspects of the law on the sale and supply of liquor, and make recommendations to Parliament. This is the first time since 1986 that such a thorough review has taken place.  As such it presents the most important opportunity to reflect on the role alcohol plays in our lives and whether that role is in our best interests.

The Law Commission's terms of reference include:


Why we need to take another look at liquor laws

Over the past twenty years, there have been profound changes in how liquor is sold and promoted. Beer has gone into supermarkets. The age of purchase has been reduced from 20 to 18. Sunday trading has been extended.

So far, the Law Commission's review has found that liquor has become a serious source of social problems in New Zealand. New Zealand Police have demonstrated that a disproportionate use of police resources are required to clean up scenes of disorder, offending, and saving intoxicated people from themselves. Doctors and nurses at emergency facilities also see alcohol-related damage first hand every day.

We urge you to participate in this review and help create safer communities and healthier people. Alcohol Healthwatch has put together a toolkit to assist you.

What's in the Issues Paper?

The Law Commission's Issues Paper, Alcohol In our lives, is divided into two parts. Part I sets out the evidence regarding what the review found, which is that drinking has become a source of serious problems in New Zealand today. Part II sets out some of the measures that can be used to help curb those problems and concludes with some preliminary ideas on law reform.  This covers issues concerning the sale and supply of liquor such as the minimum purchase age, limiting the types, number and location of liquor outlets, as well as liquor advertising, price, labelling and blood alcohol limits for driving.

Chapter 12 Towards a New Framework for Regulating Liquor sets out some preliminary ideas for a package of changes to New Zealand liquor law.  The Law Commission make clear its preferred options at this stage.  Where it hasn't yet arrived at any clear preference, it calls for further discussion and feedback on options.

Chapter 13 Range of Options provides a list of policy options developed following consultation with individuals, organisations and government agencies. 

The following is a summary of those options; for full details please refer to Chapter 13 of Alcohol in our lives.

The options are presented under three headings: supply controls, demand reduction and problem limitation.  For a summary of these and Alcohol Healthwatch's response see Summary of Alcohol Healthwatch Positions (Pdf)

Toolkit For The Law Commission Review

Click here to go to the toolkit page