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RSAs exempted from Anzac Day licences

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/04/2016 Peter Wilson, Political Writer

Poppies on the WWI Wall of Remembrance in Canberra, Australia. © Phil Noble/Newscom/Reuters Poppies on the WWI Wall of Remembrance in Canberra, Australia. RSA clubs won't have to obtain special liquor licences for their "gunfire breakfasts" on Anzac Day under a bill that's just been rushed through parliament.

Until now they've had to pay $500 for a licence to sell liquor before 1pm on Anzac Day so they can hold the traditional breakfasts.

They take place after dawn services when a shot of liquor, usually rum, is added to coffee.

"It recalls the repast taken by soldiers before battle, and the rum ration which was standard military issue in that era," said National's Paul Foster-Bell, who drafted the member's bill.

"It was ridiculous that RSA's had to pay for expensive special licences to serve a harmless tipple with gunfire breakfasts - passing this bill will make an excellent 100th birthday present for one of our country's most valued institutions."

The bill had to be fast-tracked so it could come into force before this year's Anzac Day on April 25.

It passed all its stages on Wednesday on unanimous conscience votes in less than an hour.

MPs from other parties said rushing it through wasn't a problem because it applied only to RSAs and was a very minor amendment to liquor licensing laws.

It's the second time parliament has had to rush a liquor bill through.

Last year ACT leader David Seymour's bill that allowed bars to open for longer than usual on weekends so Rugby World Cup fans could gather to watch games also had to be fast-tracked.

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