Rugby World Cup 2019: Jacinda Ardern reveals details of extended trading hours for bars

The Prime Minister has confirmed venues will be able to stay open later than usual during this year's Rugby World Cup, but there will be restrictions on serving alcohol.  

Bars and clubs will be able to open one hour before they begin screening a match but must stop selling alcohol 30 minutes after it ends, Jacinda Ardern announced. 

She said Cabinet approved the changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act on Monday and it will go to the business committee on Tuesday, before being discussed with all political parties. 

It will go before MPs in Parliament later this week, and Ardern said it will be passed well before the Rugby World Cup begins. 

"The Bill needs to be enacted by September 10 because licensees will need to give at least seven days' notice to their council and police if they are going to extend their trading hours," she said at her post-Cabinet press conference. 

"The changes will apply until the final, where I hope, of course, as a nation, we will be joining together to watch our All Blacks."

The Bill will mirror the changes made to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act as a result of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 to allow venues to open and screen games played outside of normal trading hours.

"That tournament had an 11 hour time difference with the UK. Japan is only three hours behind New Zealand, four once daylight savings begins at the end of September," Ardern said. 

"So, fewer premises will need to take advantage of the changes. But those that choose to will now be able to open."

She said importantly, it means that clubs across the country, including RSAs and rugby clubs, can open to televise the matches, meaning fans living in rural areas will be able to gather and watch the games.

The latest amendment was proposed by ACT leader David Seymour, and it was picked up by the Government last week. National is supportive, so it is highly likely the Bill will pass. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little thanked Seymour last week for drafting the Bill. 

Little said some clubs had been facing difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for the events. 

"It makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire."

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the ninth, and is to be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2. 


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