More than 20 years have passed since the framework for the sale of liquor laws was established by the 1986 Working Party on Liquor. The resulting Sale of Liquor Act 1989 has been amended many times over the years, and its overall coherence has been undermined. The Commission engaged in a comprehensive review to examine and evaluate the current laws and policies relating to the sale, supply and consumption of liquor in New Zealand. On 27 April 2010 The Commission published its final report on the review of the regulatory framework for the sale and supply of liquor, entitled 'Alcohol In Our Lives: Curbing the Harm' (NZLC R114, Wellington 2010). The report contains 153 recommendations to Government, which are currently under consideration.
1. To examine and evaluate the current laws and policies relating to the sale, supply and consumption of liquor in New Zealand.
2. To consider and formulate for the consideration of Government and Parliament a revised policy framework covering the principles that should regulate the sale, supply and consumption of liquor in New Zealand having regard to present and future social conditions and needs.
3. To deal explicitly with a number of issues, including:
- The proliferation of specific outlets and the effect this has on consumption;
- How the licensing system should be structured and who should be responsible for which aspects of licensing decisions;
- Revising the licence renewal and fee framework to consider whether risk can be more appropriately managed and to ensure that the funding of the licensing and enforcement regime is adequate;
- To ensure that unnecessary and disproportionate compliance costs are not imposed by the licensing system;
- The age at which liquor can be purchased;
- The responsibility of parents for supervising young members of their family who drink;
- The influence of excise tax on alcohol and how pricing policies can minimise harm from alcohol consumption;
- Advertising of liquor and whether there should be restrictions on discounting alcohol or advertising discounts;
- The relationship between the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Government Act 2001;
- The relationship between the Sale of Liquor Act 1989,and the liquor related offences in the Summary Offences Act 1981;
- The application of competition law to the sale of liquor;
- The need to ensure the appropriate balance between harm and consumer benefit;
- The health effects of alcohol use and the ways to ameliorate these adverse effects;
- The effects of alcohol use on the level of offending in the community and consideration of measures to minimise such offending; and
- enforcement issues in relation to liquor, including penalties, bans, measures to control alcohol related disorder and to deal with intoxicated people, and methods for preventing the use of fake proof-of-age identification.
4. To prepare an issues paper for publication and take submissions on it, and to engage in extensive public consultation.
5. To prepare a final report, including the proposed new policy framework and draft legislation, so that people can judge accurately the precise effects of what is proposed.