National MP Chris Bishop’s Member’s Bill to clarify the law around BYO alcohol areas at race meetings will allow families and communities to carry on the tradition of a chilli bin and a picnic at race meets like the Tauherenikau races, local MP Alastair Scott says.

“Race meetings like those at Tauherenikau are important community events around New Zealand and they’re usually run by volunteer committees. Clubs obtain a special licence (or hold an on-licence) for a designated area and allow the rest of the course to be available for bring-your-own alcohol consumption.

“The two major Tauherenikau race meetings are January 2nd and February 6th and attract tens of thousands of happy people.

“In particular, today’s race day is famous for its picnic atmosphere, and generations of families from the Wairarapa and surrounding areas like Wellington and Palmerston North, even as far as Auckland, make the yearly trip to be part of this fun day.

“Mr Bishop’s Bill will make it clear that racing clubs and racing meetings are not the intended target of Section 235 of the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act. The Bill provides an exemption from Section 235 for racing clubs on the days of race meetings when the club holds either an on-licence or an on-site special licence that applies to the race meeting.

“A glass of wine or beer in the sun with some chips and dip is a Kiwi tradition. Some race meets have allowed BYO for more than 135-years. We understand that Police want to address the harm caused by alcohol but they should concentrate on areas where there is actually a problem and not family friendly events.

“While the races at Tauherenikau is the exciting event, it’s also very family focused, with kids able to ride on the train, have their face painted, enter competitions and also bounce on the castles and slides in the kids entertainment area.

“Earlier in the year Racing Minister Winston Peters attacked ‘bureaucratic shiny bums’ who were interfering in BYO alcohol at race meetings. The Minister commissioned a report and Mr Bishop’s Bill reflects the report of the NZ Racing Board to their Minister.

“Tauherenikau is one of the last racing meets to allow BYO, and it’s strictly monitored at the gates. Mr Bishop’s Bill is a common sense change to the law that will essentially allow the status quo at community run race meets, like Tauherenikau, to continue.”

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