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Licenses and permits

Alcohol licensing

While people like to enjoy themselves when out for a drink, this industry is carefully regulated by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. 

The intent of the Act is to minimise the harm caused by alcohol consumption, and to ensure responsible sale, supply and consumption of alcohol.

There are a variety of licences related to the sale and supply of alcohol.

Changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

Parliament has made changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act).  The changes make it easier for communities to have a say in alcohol licensing decisions.

There are two main sets of changes.  A first set that came into force on 31 August 2023, and a second set that will come into force on 30 May 2024.  

Implementation Guide

Changes to the alcohol licensing process

Objecting to alcohol licences

Application fees

The fee to apply for a new manager’s certificate or renewal of an existing certificate is $316.20 including GST. This fee is set by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Fees) Regulations 2013.

Application fees for business licences can be found in our Fees and Charges under Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

You can pay online, over the counter at our service centre or by calling us on 0800 474 834.

For businesses

If you want to sell or supply alcohol at your premises, you will need a licence. The type of licence depends on the way you intend to sell alcohol. Applications for an alcohol licence must be lodged with the Council. It is recommended you contact us to discuss and set up a time to lodge your application.

All licensed premises must display their alcohol licence next to the main entrance of the building. This will include their trading hours. All applications for alcohol licences (new, renewal, and variations) need to be notified via public notice.  Council will publicly notify the application on our website.

If a person neglects or omits to do any act or thing in the precise manner or within the precise time prescribed by the Act, they can complete a waiver application which the Licensing committee or chairperson will consider. If they are satisfied that the neglect or omission was not wilful, they may grant a waiver.

Authorises the holder of the licence to sell and supply liquor on the premises for consumption on the premises (or conveyance).

Authorises the holder of the licence to sell liquor to any person for consumption off the premises or deliver liquor off the premises.

This licence allows a club to sell alcohol for drinking on club premises. Alcohol can only be sold to club members, a guest accompanied by a member and a member of another club with reciprocal visiting rights.

Is a licence to sell and supply liquor for a particular occasion or event or series of such functions (within a twelve-month time frame and at the same venue).

Your alcohol licence needs to suit the style of your business. Some changes to your business may need a variation to your licence conditions.

A District Licensing Committee may authorise someone to sell and supply liquor, on an existing base licence, for up to 3 months. Situations where this may happen include a sale, illness, death, bankruptcy, liquidation, receivership, mortgagee in possession, landlord in possession, abandonment etc. This allows the license to be operated during the transition to the new owner/management. A temporary authority holder has the responsibilities of the licensee to which the authority relates.

A completed application for the appropriate licence (On/Off) must be made during this three month period.

In order to operate licensed premises you will need to have a person who holds a manager’s certificate present on the premises at all times alcohol is being sold.

Christmas season is approaching fast and we would like you to be informed about the timelines and trading days for lodging licence applications, especially Special Licenses.

Please note that between the 20 December 2023 and 15 January 2024 no applications can be processed.  Take the time to go through the information below if you are planning to submit a licence application:

Timelines and trading days

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 specifies timelines, deadlines and non-working days that can impact on filing and assessment of alcohol licencing applications. The Act also specifies sacrosanct day on which the sale of alcohol is restricted. The Act defines a working day as a day that is not:

  • A Saturday, a Sunday, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign's Birthday, or Labour day; or
  • A day in the period commencing on 20 December in one year and ending with 15 January in the next year.

Liquor licensing close of dates - 2023/2024

The following deadlines apply for ALL liquor licencing applications, including special licence applications for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Waitangi Day:

If your event date is between 20 December 2023 and 13 February 2024, you must make your application by 20 November 2023 at the latest, to ensure it can be processed and granted and issued to you before 20 December 2023.

  • Note: New Year's Eve comes on the same date every year.  Late notice applications are unlikely to be accepted as the need for a special licence can be reasonably foreseen.
  • Remember, Christmas is a sacrosanct day for trading.

If you have an event on or after 14 February 2024, the 18th of January 2024 is the very last day for submitting an application (so think about filing before 20 December 2023 because of our non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January).

Waitangi Day 2024

Because we do not count the days from 20 December to 15 January this also means that all special licence applications for Waitangi Day, 6 February 2024 must be received by 20 November 2023 at the latest.

We encourage you to apply early as this is our busiest period for processing applications

If you have any questions, please contact the licensing department on 03 756 9010 ext 797.

For individuals

Find information and application forms for the Licence Controller Qualification, Acting and Temporary managers and District Licensing Committee below.

Any person applying for a Manager’s Certificate must hold a Licence Controller Qualification (LCQ). Further information can be found at Service IQ. A copy of the LCQ certificate must be attached with all applications for a Manager’s certificate (new or renewal).

Manager’s Certificate

A manager’s certificate allows the holder to manage any licenced premises, including Club premises. If you have never held a Manager’s Certificate before, your certificate will be valid for 12 months and then you must renew it. When you renew a manager’s certificate, it is valid for another three years before you have to renew it.

Six months experience working in the hospitality industry is a required minimum for any new manager’s certificate application. Copies of character and work experience references are also required for all new managers certificate applications.

Photographic identification is required for all new and renewal applications for manager’s certificates.

If the applicant is born outside New Zealand we need proof of the applicant’s immigration status.

Every premises serving alcohol must have a licenced manager on-site during operating hours, except where the licence holder has appointed a temporary manager of an acting manager.

In some circumstances, it is necessary for a business to appoint a temporary or acting manager who does not hold a Manager’s Certificate.

Acting Managers

A licensee may appoint an acting manager for a period not exceeding three weeks at any one time where a manager is unable to act because of illness/absence, and not more than six weeks in any one year, where a Manager is on annual leave or vacation.

A licensee must give notice of the appointment, cancellation or termination of any manager, temporary manager or acting manager, within 48 hours of the appointment to the Westland District Licensing Committee and their local Police.

Temporary Managers
If you wish to appoint a staff member as a temporary manager, who does not hold a managers certificate, you can appoint them as a temporary manager. They are then required to lodge an application for a manager’s certificate within two working days with the Secretary of the District Licensing Committee.

Failure to lodge an application within the required time makes their appointment as a temporary manager null and void. 

The Notification of Management Change Form must be emailed or faxed to the Alcohol Licensing Team and their local Police.

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act) the District Licensing Committees' (DLC) role is to consider and determine all new and renewal applications, whether opposed or unopposed.

All licence applications are required to be publicly notified. Council notifies all applications on its website. The public can object to an application for an alcohol licence if they have an interest greater than the public in general. If there are no objections the application may be granted without a public hearing. If there are objections a public hearing will be held unless the objection is deemed vexatious or based on grounds outside the scope of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, the objector does not require a hearing, or the application is withdrawn.

In considering any application for a licence, the DLC must consider specific criteria. The decision-makers cannot take into account the impacts of the licence on business conducted under any other licence or other matters not covered by the criteria.

District Plan consent requirements must be met before a licence is applied for.