“With the 2023 Rugby World Cup taking place in the northern hemisphere pubs are having to plead their case to prudish licensing committees just so they can open. ACT has the solution once again in the form of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Rugby World Cup 2023 Extended Trading Hours) Amendment Bill,” says ACT’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Damien Smith.

"ACT is calling on the Government to adopt the bill which uses the same mechanism David Seymour successfully employed in his Member's Bill for the RWC in 2015, and which the Government copied for the RWC in 2019. The bill would allow licensed premises to open outside of their prescribed hours to show matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Given the precedent, Labour better not drop the ball over the line.

“This year there is even more need than before to pass such legislation. The hospitality sector has been particularly affected by events of the last three years; businesses would welcome the opportunity to open for matches occurring at times they would otherwise be required to stay closed.

“I’ve been hearing from publicans across New Zealand telling me the same issue is set to occur as in 2019 and 2015. Last week ACT Leader David Seymour wrote a letter to Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson and Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan asking for the Government to adopt our bill. They’re yet to respond.

“Some people will claim it is inappropriate and the Green Party wowsers will scaremonger about the perils of alcohol advertising (unless it’s part of the America’s Cup in a Green MP’s electorate in which case they don’t mind), but the drinking habits of Kiwis are at their lowest rate in 15 years.

“This is giving people the freedom to have a drink if they want to, or if previous world cups are anything to go by then the pubs will sell a lot of eggs and coffee to punters who just want to watch the game in a social setting.

“I’ll be the first to say that ACT shouldn’t have to do this every four years. However the law is completely inadequate and prudish licencing committees are knocking back responsible publicans and club owners from opening for a few extra hours.

“There’s no reason not to adopt the bill. It gives an important leg up to hospitality businesses who have had an unbelievably tough couple of years, it means more people will be able to see the games because they won’t be reliant on a Sky subscription, and actually people should just be free to watch the game in a pub if they want to.

“I hope the Minister Robertson and Minister Allan see sense and adopt this bill.”

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