MP calls for pubs to open year-round for big sporting events

An MP is calling for licensed alcohol premises to remain open for big games all year long.

A Bill allowing bars to remain open for Rugby World Cup matches has just been passed with support from across the House, except for the Greens. 

Many of the games at the tournament - being held in Japan - will be held just after 3am, when bars usually have to close. 

New Zealand First sports spokesperson Clayton Mitchell says most people want to get out the house to back the All Blacks.

"It's so damn expensive now to watch sports on Sky or to watch sports on a pay network. People can't afford to pay for that at home, so they'd much rather go down to their local pub."

And he says this is true year-round - not just when there's a World Cup happening.

"At the end of the last Rugby World Cup there wasn't one single issue around the entire country from the extensions given. The vast, vast, vast majority are law-abiding - they actually just want to be able to go down to their local club to watch the game."  

The Bill was spearheaded by ACT's David Seymour. Only the Greens were opposed, with co-leader Marama Davidson saying it entrenched the link between sports and alcohol.

"How much longer are we going to continue to tag the sporting culture of our country - which I am incredibly proud of and have a strong affinity to, through myself and my family and my community - to drinking?"

Mitchell says Australia is a better place for rugby fans at the moment.

"If we look across the ditch in Australia, some of the states over there have recently implemented legislation to identify what games of national significance are, and then those games are automatically exempt from having to apply for a special licence." 

He says most Kiwis are law-abiding citizens and can handle the late bedtime. 

Mitchell used to run bars, and was once reportedly fined for letting people drink outside the legal hours.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20. 



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