Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Greens welcome more responsible RWC booze bill

Act Party leader David Seymour says the Green Party has gone from "party poopers" to "party facilitators" after reversing its opposition to his Rugby World Cup bill.

Mr Seymour made a second attempt to table his bill today, and this time the Greens did not object.

The legislation, which will allow all bars to stay open between 4am and 8am for World Cup matches, will have its first reading this evening.

A Government bill, which was being drafted to replace Mr Seymour's legislation, will be shelved.

Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said he spoken to Act and National overnight and was now confident that improvements would be made to the legislation at the select committee stage.

"There's been a good faith process that leaves us confident that there will be a substantially better bill," he said.

Asked whether his party made a U-turn after being mocked as "wowsers" yesterday, Mr Hague said: "No... the bill will be substantially better because of the stance we took yesterday. This was a bad bill."

Mr Seymour said the Greens wanted to be seen to be respecting the wishes of New Zealanders.

"But look, Parliament's ultimately about working together," he said.

The Greens wanted the bill to only cover New Zealand games, and for there to be restrictions on which pubs could stay open.

Mr Seymour said only broadcasting All Black matches was "deeply unfair" and he wanted it to apply to all 48 games.

But he was willing to consider other Green proposals including restrictions on bars which have previously breached their liquor licences.

After the Act bill was shot down by the Greens yesterday, the Government began drafting its own bill.

That work would now be scrapped, and the Government planned to propose changes at the committee stage.

National wants the law change to apply only to All Black games and knockout matches - a total of 12 matches.

Labour and New Zealand First are lobbying for the legislation to be widened to cover all major sports events such as the Netball World Cup and the Olympics.

Labour leader Andrew Little said pay TV was too expensive for many New Zealanders and their only opportunity to watch the country on the world stage was in a public place.

"I support a law which allows this to happen for the Rugby World Cup in September and October, but we should not have to repeat this rigmarole every time an event occurs on the other side of the world," he said.

Mr Key said he wouldn't rule out a broader bill which covered other events.

"If there was an event that was significant enough that we thought was in a time zone that warranted it, we'd look at it."

- NZ Herald

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