Collins rejects liquor pleas

NZ Herald 25 Oct 2012
South Auckland MPs have pleaded with their fellow South Aucklander – Justice Minister Judith Collins – to put aside politics on alcohol reform and adopt their amendments to keep liquor outlets away from schools. Speaking in the debate on the Alcohol Reform Bill, Su’a William Sio and Louisa Wall both said alcohol was an issue that had plagued their South Auckland communities for years and called for liquor outlets to be banned near schools. Ms Wall, MP for Manurewa, said there were 494 liquor licences across wider Manukau, including 181 off-licences, and the number of small corner-store liquor shops had prompted protests in the local community. Her amendment would ban liquor outlets other than supermarkets within 1km of schools – one of several Labour amendments the Government is refusing to support. “There is no place in the life of a child for alcohol. “What really concerns me is our children who do walk to school and stop in at the superette on the way to school are confronted with alcohol. Alcohol will become, and has become, a normal part of children’s lives.”

…In reply, Ms Collins said decisions such as the placement of liquor outlets were best dealt with by local councils rather than applying universal rules, partly because communities in poor areas would want tougher rules than those in wealthy suburbs such as Remuera. Ms Collins said it was in poorer areas that people had taken to the streets to protest about liquor outlets. “It’s not the people in the rich areas. They generally don’t care.”