“The Government has a chance to do the right thing this afternoon by adopting my legislation allowing bars and clubs to open outside normal licencing hours to show the Rugby World Cup”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“Yesterday, I indicated to other parties that I would seek leave to introduce and debate the legislation. Labour’s Grant Robertson asked for 24 hours to consider the issue, but it seems he may now be trying to find a reason to avoid it.
“Up and down New Zealand, as in 2015, bars and clubs are being declined special licences to open outside normal hours and show the rugby. In fact, venues have now given up on applying to councils for special licences because they know they will be knocked back.
“Hospitality New Zealand has estimated that 50 per cent of its membership – or 1,500 on-licence venues – will be impacted. 60 per cent of Clubs New Zealand’s affiliates are affected. That’s 180 clubs with 180,000 members. Many members are approaching retirement and will be looking to their local club to be able to watch the games.
“Why shouldn’t bars and clubs be allowed to open? We know from 2015 that people watching the rugby at their local are not troublemakers.
“In addition to all of this, 40,000 rural households won’t be able to access Spark Sport's live streaming coverage of the Rugby World Cup, meaning hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will be forced to watch delayed coverage of the rugby.
“If Labour refuses to play ball today, it will be breaking the hearts of heartland New Zealanders and I will be forced to ask Parliament to debate my legislation.
“Common sense needs to prevail here. The law is completely inadequate and prudish licencing committees are knocking back responsible publicans and club owners from opening for a few extra hours.
“The Government needs to adopt my bill so that hardworking Kiwis can enjoy a beer at their local while watching the All Blacks retain the Rugby World Cup.”