New liquor sales Code of Practice commences 1 December
9 December 2008
The new voluntary Code of Practice, which replaced the commencement of Section 9 (structural separation) in the Intoxication Liquor Act 2008, has come into force as of 1 December. The Code, which must be displayed in a prominent position within any mixed retail store with an off-licence, restricts the display of alcohol products to “only in a part of the premises through which customers do not have to pass in order to obtain access to other beverages and food products”. Alcohol products must be confined to this one area, “as far as possible.”
In relation to the latter proviso, CSNA chief executive Vincent Jennings stated “this is not a get-out clause” but that there must be valid, structural reasons why a store’s alcohol sales area is not duly segregated from the rest of its departments. He commented however, that in such cases the area still may not reside in too conspicuous a position, such as being “too close” to the front of the store.
The CSNA will form part of the body responsible for rolling out the Code of Practice throughout the country. All mixed retailers selling alcohol must sign up to and display the Code, and will receive training packs and information as part of the nationwide roll-out.
Jennings warns that independent audits will be carried out throughout the months of February, March and April. Retailers must also be aware that members of the public will be able to make complaints to the regulator, whose contact details appear on the Code displayed in-store, in instances where a breach of the Code is believed to have occurred.
If a single retailer is found to be in breach of the Code, it could lead to the commencement of Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 for the entire sector. The Code also prohibits the advertising of alcohol in-store outside of the designated alcohol sales area, including “windows or at internal locations where it is intended to be seen from outside the premises.”