Govt passes RWC pub Bill
By Peter Wilson and Sarah Robson
Parliament has passed the Bill that allows bars to open for all 48 Rugby World Cup games so fans can gather to watch them live on TV.
Because the tournament takes place in Britain, the games will be played outside normal bar hours.
They're not being shown live on free-to-air TV.
MPs voted 99-21 to pass ACT leader David Seymour's Bill after its final stages were fast-tracked today.
The Green Party cast 13 negative votes, the Maori Party two, and six Labour MPs opposed the Bill.
Kevin Hague explained why the Greens voted against it.
"What this amounts to is a major extension of licence hours for almost all licensed premises in New Zealand for nearly every day for six weeks," he said.
"This Bill is a retrograde step in every conceivable way."
The Greens are the only ones taking a party position against the Bill.
It had been expected there would be restrictions on which games bars, pubs and licensed clubs would be allowed to open for.
Prime Minister John Key and Justice Minister Amy Adams suggested they should be limited to showing All Blacks games.
But that wasn't among the recommendations in the justice and electoral committee's report on the Bill.
The extended opening hours will apply to all games, but bar owners will have to give police seven days notice if they're planning to open their doors.
They'll also have to meet conditions on noise control.
Bars that have had their licences suspended or varied in the past year won't be able to take advantage of the law changes.
National has taken a caucus decision to support the Bill, and all its MPs are backing it.
Labour is allowing its MPs to cast personal votes – they're not bound by a party line.
Party leader Andrew Little is happy pubs will be able to open for all games.
"We have a variety of rugby-loving communities in New Zealand – South Africans, Samoans, Tongans," he said.
"They should be able to watch their national teams play just the same way as New Zealanders want to watch the All Blacks play."