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A new Member’s Bill will clarify the law around BYO alcohol areas at race meetings and allow families and communities to carry on the tradition of chilly bin and a hamper at the races, MP for Hutt South Chris Bishop says. 

“Race meetings are important community events around New Zealand. 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.

“In recent years Police have been opposing liquor licences. Many regional racing clubs lack the infrastructure to offer hospitality services and there is a long and fine tradition of allowing patrons to bring their own food and drink to the course on race days.

“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.

“My Bill makes it clear that racing clubs and race meetings are not the intended targets 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.

“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 (after I had asked him written questions about his comments) and my Bill reflects the report of the NZ Racing Board to their Minister.

“This is a common sense change to the law that will essentially allow the status quo at community run race meets to continue.”

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