To obtain an alcohol licence you must first ensure that:
- you have the correct licence for the type of premises (on, off or club) and;
- at least one person holds a managers certificate under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
Check out this guide [PDF from alcohol.org.nz] on applying for a licence to sell or supply alcohol. It's for people applying for any type of new or renewed licence and leads you through the application and hearings process under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
Types of licence
To sell or supply alcohol either as a business, club, or at a special event, you must apply for the appropriate licence.
There are four types of licence:
- On Licence (pub, restaurant, cafe, bar)
- Off Licence (bottle store, supermarket)
- Club Licence (sports club, RSA, working men's club)
- Special Licence (events and functions)
An on-licence, off-licence, or club licence is granted initially for one year and then can be renewed every three years. Special licences are granted per event or for a series of events.
A separate application must be submitted for each type of licence, along with a non-refundable fee and requirements for specific additional documentation. If you are taking over an existing licensed premises that already has a licence you will need to apply for a temporary authority to cover you while you're waiting for your new licence to be issued.
On, off, and club licences are also subject to an annual fee on their anniversary.
Alcohol licence applications are at the bottom of this page.
Timeframes when applying for a licence
Complete applications will always be processed as quickly as possible. However applicants are recommended to allow six weeks for an application to be processed to provide the maximum opportunity for an application to be granted.
While the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 requires special licences to be filed a minimum of 20 working days prior to the event, applicants must be aware that this is an absolute minimum and does not guarantee an application will be granted within this timeframe. Particularly for large events with multiple applications, or where applications are incomplete.
The Act allows 15 working days for the reporting agencies (Police and Medical Officer of Health) to report on licence applications. Then the Licensing Inspector is required to report on the application. Then the application goes to an independent body, the District Licensing Committee, for determination.
Please note that none of the days between 20 December and 15 January are counted as working days under the Act, so applicants must allow additional days either side of these dates.
In many cases a short timeframe is insufficient to resolve any issues that may arise as the application goes through this process.
What does an Alcohol Licence allow?
It allows the licensee to sell alcohol according to the conditions of the licence.
Conditions cover such things as:
- who alcohol can be sold to
- the hours and days alcohol can be sold
- who is allowed on the premises
- the range of food, non-alcohol and low-alcohol drinks to be provided
- provision of information about alternative transport arrangements.
It is against the law for a licensee or their staff to sell alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated, to allow a person to become intoxicated, or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 years. There are heavy penalties for these offences.
We're working on making more of these applications into online forms. If not available, please download the PDF document.
Application for on-site or off-site special licence - online form
Notice of Management Change - online form
The fees for licences and certificates are set under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations 2013 and vary depending on the type of licence or certificate being sought.
Read more: Alcohol Licencing Fees
Objecting to a licence application
Here you can find help on whether to make an official objection to an application for a new or renewed alcohol licence in your community and if you decide to go ahead, how to go about it.
It sets out how to object to a licence to sell or supply alcohol, what to include in your objection, and the processes that you need to follow.
Local Alcohol Policy
Under the Sale and Supply Alcohol Act 2012, Council developed a policy to establish our positions on licensing matters such as the location, number and trading hours of licensed premises.
Local Alcohol Policy [PDF, 500KB, 21 pages]