New Zealand to shake up liquor laws

New Zealand is reviewing alcohol marketing and sponsorship, and stripping back the alcohol lobby's ability to appeal local harm minimisation plans.

Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced a review of the country's alcohol laws, which will include the minimum age to buy booze.

The first move will be to block the right of supermarkets and alcohol companies to appeal alcohol policies - which have cost councils millions of dollars - and in some cases, successfully stymied their implementation at all.

"The law isn't working as intended," Ms Allan said.

"Local communities should be able to set their own rules to reduce alcohol harm, but are being blocked at every step by the booze industry."

In Auckland, a plan to block alcohol sales after 9pm has been caught up in legal action since 2015.

Christchurch and Hamilton have given up on their local plans, while Wellington's plan has been appealed by eight parties, according to Ms Allan.

"It was always envisaged that people would have the opportunity to be heard when it comes to how alcohol is sold locally. I've heard loud and clear that this part of the act is not working," she said.

Over the summer, the government will work on licensing, pricing, and reducing the amount of alcohol sponsorship and marketing, with Ms Allan saying "our intention is to tilt the balance away from the alcohol industry".

The Greens are claiming the action as a win, given Auckland Central MP Chloe Swarbrick has been campaigning for the changes for months.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wasn't comfortable with the level of marketing towards young Kiwis, but said she wanted to take her time to review laws given the dependence of some groups - including sporting clubs - on alcohol sponsorships.

"This is something that is relatively embedded," she told Radio NZ.

"Often you'll find examples of where it's closely connected to other things we really value in our community. Community-based sport, for instance. So it's not something we can change quickly.

"This is an issue. We do want to do something about it, but we have to be aware of the consequences."

Ms Ardern said any change to the minimum age to buy alcohol - currently 18 nationwide - would be a conscience vote for her Labour MPs, and that she favoured the status quo.