Alcohol regulation and our communities

Is the regulatory regime of the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act serving communities well?

About the project

This study aims to examine whether the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act has achieved its goal of restricting the proliferation of alcohol and minimising harm. Previous study (Gordon, 2017) has raised concern about inconsistency in decision-making between the 67 District Licensing Committees (DLCs). At the heart of this study is the question of whether the Act has been effective in bringing about the Minister’s goal to increase regulation of alcohol for the purpose of reducing alcohol-related harm.  

Central to the study are the communities that have worked to oppose licence applications. An earlier study concluded the odds were stacked against these communities in terms of finding out about licence applications in time, making submissions, appearing at DLC hearings, dealing with the legalistic nature of DLC hearings and having their submissions taken seriously.  

The study uses online surveys, interviews with stakeholders and case analysis to examine how the Act works in practice for communities to reduce alcohol-relate harm.

“In the area of alcohol law, the desire to do business and make a profit is pitched against the determination of communities to prevent the effects of the product sold – alcohol – in communities. Unfortunately, it is not an even battle.”
– Liz Gordon, Pukeko Research

Grant amount

$23,698 over seven months in 2018 (research work completed). This was a co-funded project with the New Zealand Law Foundation, which contributed the same amount.

About Liz Gordon

Dr Liz Gordon is a social researcher and lawyer working across the education, social policy, community and justice settings. Her expertise is in understanding how communities work within regulatory structures towards desired goals. Her project work covers several community organisations representing children, whanau, grandparents raising children, prisoners and so on. Her company, Pukeko Research Ltd, works jointly with researchers across Aotearoa to carry out projects. Liz also works as a barrister on alcohol-related law.

Contact Person

Liz Gordon

Pukeko Research