By: Kaitlin L. GannonThe news of alcohol being legalised in New Zealand was met with mixed reactions by Kiwis, with some believing it to be a step in the right direction, while others said they were unsure about the benefits.
In New Zealand, beer and wine are still illegal, but can be purchased in supermarkets and restaurants, with spirits and hard liquor banned.
Beer, wine and spirits are still prohibited from being consumed on public transport and in bars.
On Sunday, New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice said the ban would be lifted when the government’s alcohol consumption figures were available in April 2020.
As of Friday, alcohol had been legalised across the country for the first time since 1875.
The New Zealand Department of Health said alcohol had already been available to those 18 years of age and over for about a year.
It said alcohol consumption had decreased from the early days of prohibition, but the new law was expected to lead to a “significant increase in consumption”.
Drinking and drivingNew Zealand’s drink-driving laws are among the toughest in the world.
The law bans people from driving if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.10 percent, while the maximum penalty is four months in prison.
Drivers are also banned from using mobile phones while driving and if they are stopped while driving, they must give their hands a thorough shake before being released.
There are also strict restrictions on how long people can stay at a police station after being charged with a crime.
Drivers can be fined up to $10,000 if caught using a phone while driving.
Anyone caught using their phone while on the move can face up to six months in jail, while those caught with alcohol can face a maximum of 10 years in prison, the Ministry of Health and Ageing said.