The Government will introduce a bill to enable bars and clubs to stay open and serve drinks during Rugby World Cup games next month.
Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the bill today, following pressure from Act leader David Seymour in the previous days.
Little said the bill would allow eligible licensed premises to open during every RWC game, even if those games are outside their usual trading hours.
"It's pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire.
"There are some premises, such as clubs in rural areas, who tend to have earlier closing times and we want to make sure that these communities have the opportunity to enjoy the games."
Little said the Government would consider a separate long-term solution rather than having to put up a temporary one every four years.
He thanked Seymour for his work drafting a bill on the issue, which Seymour intended to bring to the House yesterday, but he held off after the Government requested 24 hours to seek advice.
Seymour told the Herald he was happy that the issue was going to be resolved.
"I'm delighted the Government, and all of Parliament for that matter, is seeing sense."
National Party sport and recreation spokeswoman Nikki Kaye, who has also been pushing for the Government to resolve the issue, welcomed Little's announcement.
But she was yet to see the detail of the bill and wanted to ensure all RWC games would be covered.
"There will be issues raised around making sure we have the requirements right around noise management and responsible drinking, but also some people will argue for non-New Zealand games," Kaye said.
"I'm aware of Irish pubs who want to extend their trading house to watch Ireland play. National will be working hard on any enhancements to the bill that need to happen."
Seymour led the charge on a similar bill for RWC games in 2015.
The latest quarter-finals at the RWC this year start at 11.15pm NZT, the latest semifinal at 10pm NZT, and the final and bronze playoff are at 10pm NZT.
Local authorities can grant special licences to bars and clubs through district licensing committees, but two clubs - Titirangi RSA and Waihi Beach RSA - have already had their applications declined.
That had prompted Clubs NZ operations manager Lucy Waterreus to contact Seymour to enlist his help, saying the issue could affect up to 180 clubs.
Hospitality New Zealand has also estimated that 50 per cent of its membership – or 1500 on-licence venues – might be impacted.
Seymour has said that a law needed to be passed this month to be in place in time for the first kick-off on September 20.