Member of Parliament (MP) Chloe Swarbrick’s Private Members’ Bill “The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill” was drawn from the ballot in the New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa) parliament. The bill will thus proceed to parliament and get its first reading.
MP Swarbrick says it is now time for other MPs to join the growing local council support for the Bill. Already the bill has the support of five major Local Councils representing more than half of New Zealand citizens.
The measures in the Bill include:
- Removing the appeals process from Local Alcohol Policies, which has been used extensively by supermarket and bottle store retailers backed by the Big Alcohol lobby to prevent or delay evidence-based public health action regarding common-sense limits to local alcohol availability,
- End alcohol sponsorship of broadcast sports, and
- Strengthen the criteria for District Licensing Committees to consider when making decisions on applications for a license to sell alcohol.
We know it’s not fit for purpose anymore, and we need to give opportunities to our communities to have a stronger say on how alcohol is placed within their neighborhoods,” said MP Chloe Swarbrick, as per NZ Herald.Chloe Swarbrick, MP, New Zealand, Sponsor of The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill
Local Councils already support the Bill, it is now time for Parliament to act
MP Swarbrick has been gathering support for the Bill across New Zealand’s Local Councils. So far, Whanganui, Hamilton, Auckland, Christchurch, and Waipā councils, representing more than half of the population of New Zealand, have all voted to support the bill.
While MPs have dawdled to act, councils representing more than half the population of Aotearoa have shown the necessary leadership and endorsed the bill,” said MP Chloe Swarbrick, as per NZ Herald.
It’s time for Parliament to put its money where its mouth is and begin to more appropriately regulate one of the most harmful drugs we know of.”Chloe Swarbrick, MP, New Zealand, Sponsor of The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill
Hāpai Te Hauora (Māori Public Health) chief executive Selah Hart says finally the stars are aligning for alcohol policy improvements in New Zealand after years of inaction. She says that public health advocates across New Zealand believe that alcohol law reform is well overdue in the country.
Hart adds that it is essential for MPs to listen to their constituency, particularly those who represent Local Councils that support the Bill.
It’s going to come down to a conscience vote, and we know that many members of Parliament have interests or could be in some way, shape or form conflicted in making these decisions,” said Selah Hart, chief executive of Hāpai Te Hauora (Māori Public Health), as per NZ Herald.
But MPs are there as representatives of their constituents and they need to listen to those constituents.”Selah Hart, chief executive, Hāpai Te Hauora (Māori Public Health)
Community groups, including grassroots sports need to find new sponsors away from harmful industries
One of the only Local Councils that do not support the Bill is Carterton District Council due to fears that grassroots sports could be affected negatively without alcohol companies’ sponsorships.
However, as Selah Hart points out this is an opportunity for grassroots sports and community initiatives to find new sponsors that are not harming the people and communities with their products and practices.
There are many community organizations that find ways and means to support themselves that don’t rely on those harmful commodities’ pool of money,” said Selah Hart, chief executive of Hāpai Te Hauora (Māori Public Health), as per NZ Herald.Selah Hart, chief executive, Hāpai Te Hauora (Māori Public Health)
She further urges the government to create an independent funding resource for community groups that are already opting out of alcohol and gambling sponsors.