New Zealand Law Society - Law change will help grocery stores to continue selling alcohol

Law change will help grocery stores to continue selling alcohol

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The Government says a law change has been made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes to take effect on 15 September 2017.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Amendment Regulations 2017 will come into effect on that date.

Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says the change has been made because increases in tobacco excise tax meant some grocery stores’ main source of revenue changed from food to tobacco products, which resulted in these stores losing liquor licences.

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, to hold a liquor licence, a grocery store’s principal business must be the sale of food products.

“The increases in tobacco excise tax, which were designed to reduce smoking, were never intended to restrict grocery stores from selling alcohol,” Mr Mitchell says.

“To address this unintended consequence, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations 2013 have been changed so the tobacco excise tax will be excluded from a grocery store’s annual sales revenue when determining whether the store can hold a liquor licence.

“This is a practical step that supports small grocery businesses and maintains the intended policy that these stores are eligible to hold a liquor licence.”

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