Health groups have questioned a proposal from one New Zealand parliamentarian that would allow bars to open for almost three consecutive days.
ACT Party leader David Seymour recently introduced a bill to parliament that would allow bars to open between 4am and 8am to screen Rugby World Cup games.
The proposal spawned from the time difference between the cup’s host, England, and Australia’s rugby-mad neighbours. New Zealand’s first game will be screened live at 3.45am local time.
Under the legislation, labelled the ‘booze bill’, bars would be able to broadcast up to 16 of the 48 World Cup games.
“It will effectively mean that you can watch all of the All Blacks games, all of the eight play-off games, and four other pool games from some other team,” Mr Seymour told the New Zealand Herald.
“Are you going to start giving up games that very few people have any interest in watching in order to bring out this herculean all-weekend marathon session? I doubt it.
“And any bars that might do that are probably the ones that already open right up until the 4am anyway. Those are the kind of places that can already open for 40 out of 48 hours in a weekend.”
But health advocacy groups have slammed the proposal, with the New Zealand Medical Association arguing it could “exacerbate alcohol-related harms”.
Meanwhile, the National Public Health Alcohol Working Group has also questioned the potential health impacts.
“On the final weekend of the pool matches there is the potential for premises to open from 8am Saturday through to 4am on the following Monday, without a break, due to the scheduling of the matches – 68 hours of continuous opening,” the group’s submission to the select committee considering the bill stated, according to the NZ Herald.
“On quarter-final weekend, there is again the potential for 48-hour continuous opening.”