Effective Local Alcohol Policy Guidelines

What are the key elements of an effective Local Alcohol Policy?

Evidence supports the following.




Trading Hours

Restrict trading hours of all off-licensed premises to at least 9am – 9pm.


Restrict trading hours of on-licensed premises to at least 10.00am – 2am.

Reduces availability and accessibility of alcohol.

Proven to reduce violence and other crime, road and other injuries.

Reduces levels of intoxication, binge-drinking and ‘pre-loading’.

Outlet Density

Reduce the number of licences in an area by:

  1. Introducing a cap on new licenses and
  2. Allowing a ‘sinking’ lid to be adopted in areas with existing problems/over-supply.

This is particularly important in high-risk areas/suburbs,

Reduces accessibility and availability.

Offers protection for young people from exposure to alcohol promotion, helping to reduce the risk of early onset of drinking and problems developing.

Location specific controls

Create a buffer/exclusion zone around schools and other identified sensitive sites such as churches, Marae, treatment services, youth/community facilities.  For example:

  1. 100m limit for off-licences
  2. 100m limit for on-licences or appropriate conditions.


Require that all identified sensitive sites are notified of all licence applications and renewals, and provide sensitive sites with the power to veto licence application within a threshold or require specific conditions to apply.

Limit the proximity of licensed premises in relation to other licensed premises.

Reduces accessibility and availability.

Offers protective factors for young and other vulnerable people from exposure to alcohol promotion.

One-way doors

Require all premises operating after 12midnight to prohibit new patrons from entering the premises two hours before closing.

Slows drinker migration.

Reduces alcohol-related problems associated with late night premises.

Discretionary Conditions

Require a risk management plan to be implemented by all premises operating beyond 12midnight;

  • Security
  • Lighting and other design factors
  • CCTV
  • Limit patron numbers

These would be signed off by licensing authorities and compliance monitored and enforced.

Limits to size, number and alcohol volume of drinks allowed to be sold after 10pm, e.g.

  • No shots
  • No mixed drinks with more than 30mls of alcohol
  • No RTDs over 5% alcohol volume
  • One drink per person per transaction or other limits on stock piling.

Costs of implementing these interventions are to be met directly by the premises or through licensing fees that reflect the cost.

Minimise risks and pre-empt problems.

Conditions of Special Licences and event holders.

All events that have a sole or significant focus on alcohol consumption such as wine/beer festivals must be designated R18 events and promoted and managed accordingly.

All R18 events and any special licences operating beyond 12midnight are required to have and implement a risk management plan as above.

Minimise risks and pre-empt problems.