Monday April 21, 2014
06:29 NZT

The Robertson Review: Legislative priorities PDF Print E-mail

altThe polling is done, the votes are counted – well, almost counted – and New Zealanders can no longer have the excuse that they are distracted by the election campaign for getting on with life.  

New Zealanders over the past few months have been given plenty of reasons to procrastinate, fantastic Rugby World Cup, followed by a thankfully brief election campaign.  It is true that these have been distractions with people putting off decisions to commit investment, putting off decisions to reshape businesses, and some no doubt because it’s all too hard.

Fortunately those distractions are now in the past and the hospitality industry can get on with doing what it does best – delivering hospitality.  But do we truly know the environment we are going to have to deal with as we look to the future.  Despite big decisions being made, ie New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup, and John Key again being Prime Minister, there remains some significant uncertainty dependent on legislative changes yet to be passed or yet to be finalised.  The Food Bill, which will reshape food safety in New Zealand was first introduced by the Labour government and is yet to go through all the Parliamentary processes.  This legislation, if the Government ever see it as priority, will modernise legislation and provide a consistent food safety platform across the country.  While it may be a struggle for some of the operators, it should make the food the hospitality industry delivers to its customers, safer.

And of course there’s the Alcohol Law Reform Bill, also awaiting its Parliamentary turn.  All the focus will be on the age of purchase, whereas the real challenge for the industry is not about the age but about the new bureaucracies, created at local government level, empowered to impose restrictions and restraint.

Will these bills get priority or instead will the Government be focussed on passing the legislation required to meet the commitments they have just made to the electorate.  Yes, it is important to keep the promises made during the course of the election, but it is just as important to provide certainty to hospitality businesses by providing a legislative framework which enables the industry to deliver a hospitable product in a safe way.

Bruce Robertson

Chief Executive, Hospitality New Zealand