A bill allowing bars and to open at any time of the morning to televise 2015 Rugby World Cup games has passed in Parliament last night by 99 votes to 21.

The Green Party, six Labour MPs and the Maori Party voted against it.

Labour allowed a conscience vote and 26 MPs supported it.

The six Labour MPs who opposed the bill were Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta, Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, Mangere MP Su'a William Sio, Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, and Christchurch East MP Poto Williams.

Advertisement

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox announced she was voting against the bill after having voted for the bill a few hours before at its second reading.

She said she agreed with what Poto Williams had said about the damage that alcohol had on families and its role in family violence.

Sponsored by Act leader David Seymour, it will allow bars, pubs and licensed clubs to open and televise any of the 2015 Rugby World Cup games.

The licensee can open up an hour before each televised game but must close for the sale of alcohol 30 minutes after the end of each game - unless it is within an hour of the next televised game.

District Licensing Committees can approve licenses for special events but Mr Seymour had heard that some were putting conditions on them, such as required a special speaker or a costumed event, although in some areas special licenses had already been granted.

There will be conditions to bars extending hours to show RWC games:

• There must be no outdoor speakers; no discarding of empty bottles and no use of outdoor courtyard areas.
• Police would have to be given seven days' notice.
• Premises which have had their licenses varied or suspended in the previous 12 months will not be able to extend their hours to show Rugby World Cup games.

And if the police lodge an application to suspend or cancel a license during the RWC period, the premise concerned will no longer be able to show games during extended periods.

Advertisement

"This is a victory for the presumption that New Zealanders are free to do as they please unless they give justifications for their freedoms being restricted," Mr Seymour said.

"This is not supposed to be where you are presumed 'un-free' unless you can justify yourself to the busy-bodies."

Labour's Grant Robertson said the bill was about a sense of community, not about people going on "benders."

He believed people would be under the influence of caffeine and bacon, not alcohol.
But the Green Party claimed the bill was undemocratic and rode roughshod over local licensing decisions.

Mr Seymour promoted the bill after he was advised some licenses premises were having difficulty getting licenses for special events under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The Green Party originally blocked the bill but its MPs changed their minds the next day after being accused of being "wowsers" and "party poopers."

But MP Kevin Hague said the party decided to support the bill to select committee on the understanding National and Act would be prepared to make changes to reduce potential harm caused by drinking to all hours of the morning but that didn't happen.

The party had not wanted bars nears schools and kindergartens opened and had wanted it to apply only to All Blacks games.

He referred to a "loss of democracy" associated with bill because submissions were only written and submitters were not allowed to make oral submissions and because it was having a truncated passage through the House, without a committee of the whole House stage.

"This approach where Parliament rides in over the top of existing local government decision-making processes effectively rides roughshod over those processes."

Mr Hague's colleague Jan Logie said bars could have been opened to watch the games but without alcohol being sold.

National Minister Nick Smith wondered why the Greens did not want any risk when it came to alcohol but supported liberalization of cannabis.

He said the Greens made themselves look out of touch with New Zealanders who just wanted to enjoy themselves when they watched rugby.

The Rugby World Cup begins in Britain on September 19 and the final is on November 1.