BYO to the races Bill passes first reading

BYO to the races Bill passes first reading

09 June 2022


A Bill to protect part of the Kiwi tradition of a BYO during a day at the races passed its first reading in Parliament on Wednesday evening, National’s Racing spokesperson Ian McKelvie says.


“The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Exemption for Race Meetings) Amendment Bill aims to remove one of the barriers contributing to a decline in race meeting attendance.

“A day out at the races has long been important in the lives of countless Kiwis. However, current legislation has placed unnecessary barriers to enjoying a drink in moderation at a race meet.


“Police have begun objecting to BYO alcohol during clubs’ applications for special alcohol licenses for specific areas of the course, causing significant stress and time-consuming work for racing clubs that should be focused on delivering fun and safe events.


“Race meetings are important community events, primarily run by volunteer committees. Many regional clubs lack the resources to offer significant hospitality services, so allowing patrons to bring their own is a significant factor in attracting attendance on race days.


“Many race meetings were founded on the backs of families taking their picnic lunch, sitting at the back of the car and having a great day out. I believe this law will work to preserve family days at the races - very much a part of the New Zealand way of life.


“This Bill eliminates any ambiguity about the legality of BYO at race meetings, clarifying that meets are not the intended target of section 235 of the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act 2012. Race days are exempt when consumption of alcohol takes place at a time when the club holds either an on-licence or a special on-site licence that applies to the race meeting.


“I am grateful for this Bill's support from the racing community. Rural clubs in particular stand to benefit, often hosting race meetings during holidays when families might go for a day out. I consider that, if passed, it will encourage more people to re-engage with the industry, and subsequently even take an ownership share in a horse.”