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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Release/Statement

Headline: Common sense low-alcohol rules a step closer

A Bill to improve how low strength beer and wine can be sold passed its second reading in Parliament last night.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Display of Low-alcohol Beverages and Other Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill makes three minor technical changes to New Zealand’s alcohol legislation.

“Under the wording in the current law, supermarkets and grocery stores that sell low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer and wine cannot place them in the same area as regular strength alcohol,” says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

“This was an unintended consequence of a well-intentioned provision in the Act, which aims to limit how much shoppers are exposed to alcohol by restricting such displays and promotions to a single area.”

The Bill will:

  • permit supermarkets and grocery stores to display low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer and wine in the same area of the store as regular alcohol
  • clarify that a company can hold an alcohol licence. This will bring the law into line with the previous Sale of Liquor Act 1989, which explicitly said they could
  • make a procedural change to the definition of working day in the Act to make it consistent with changes made to public holidays in 2013.

The changes are technical, narrow in scope and will not change the policy intent of the Act.

“Low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer and wine alternatives are becoming a popular option, and enabling them to be displayed alongside regular strength alcohol within a store will help New Zealanders make a thorough decision when purchasing alcohol,” says Ms Adams.