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The Nelson Photo News



The Liquor Poll

Next Saturday New Zealanders eligible to vote will go to the polls to do what our elected Parliamentary representatives are fightened to do - cast a vote on the very thorny question of an extension of licensing hours - 6 o'clock closing or later.

We make no apologies for stating that Members of Parliament on both sides of the House are unwilling to vote on this issue. or, let's be entirely fair - the members themselves might not be unwilling, but their parties are - frightened of incurring the voting displeasure of what is commonly referred to as the wowser" vote, or on the other side, the drinking vote, by coming out in favour or otherwise of an extension of the drinking hours. And because they are not prepared to do the job that they have been put into Parliament to do, this country is going to have to foot a bill for something like £300,000 (a conservative figure) to hold a poll. What a buck pass

It seems strange to us that we should be asked to vote on trading hours when it would appear the Members of Parliament have already decided that the extended hours will find favour with the public. Judging by newspaper reports of parliamentary sittings, the vote is as good as carried - all over bar the shouting (and that's still illegal). if our so-called leaders feel that way, why didn't they take their own vote on it and save the country the expense and trouble of a poll? We've already given the answer to that question - political expediency.

We object to the poll for two reasons. The first is that voters, in many cases, will be asked to make a decision virtually without facts. There are already too many facets of the whole question that remain unanswered satisfactorily. These will not concern the prohibitionists. They will oppose an extension or hours automatically, not because they feel that an extension is not warranted or that it will lead to greater drunkenness, but because they believe all liquor is evil and that more restrictions, not less, are needed. Our second reason for opposing such a poll is that it is entirely unnecessary.

But it would appear we have been saddled with a poll, so let's examine the whole question of extended hours. We favour an extension. We reel that the 6 o'clock swill only tends to increase the amount of drinking; that the present laws are archaic and because a big section of the people (including the people who have to enforce them) feel they do not have the approval of the general public, they are not observed or enforced as strictly as they should be; that some of the laws are harmful to New Zealand's image touristwise and that the propaganda that increased trading hours will only serve to encourage drunkenness is a huge bogeyman with no foundation in fact.

But while we favour an extension, we feel there should be a meal break between 6 and 7. The licensing trade and the breweries will probably not want this, but unless it is granted, then the good to be obtained from extended hours could be completely nullified.

Parliament wants to know what the public wants. It is, therefore, very important that everyone, no matter what his or her views, should vote on September 23.


Bars open now at 9 am so here's a picture that graphically displays the stupidity of opening at such an hour


....or 10?