Types of Licences

Our alcohol laws categorise alcohol licences into four types. Read more about these below.

On-licensed premises include pubs, taverns, hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, entertainment venues, and conveyances such as trains, planes, and ferries etc. An on-licence allows the sale and supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises.

There are also on-licences whereby customers can bring their own (BYO) alcohol to consume on the premises. However, the alcohol content of the beverage should not be more than 14.33% (i.e. you cannot bring a bottle of vodka (37.5% alcohol) to a BYO restaurant). BYO premises can also sell and supply other alcohol for consumption in the restaurant by any person who is there to dine. There are also on-licences for caterers.

Requirements for on-licences

All on-licences must:

Other conditions can be placed on an on-licence by the District Licensing Committee

On-licence hours

If your Local Council has not yet adopted a Local Alcohol Policy, then the maximum national hours permitted for trading are 8am to 4am.

Entry of minors

Some licensed premises are designated as restricted areas, which means that young people are not allowed to enter. Others may be designated as supervised areas, which young people can enter if they are accompanied by a legal parent or guardian. See the young people section for more information.

Supply of alcohol to minors (under 18 years) (e.g. bars, restaurants)

At on-licensed premises that minors are permitted to enter, minors can only be supplied with alcohol if:

  1. The minor is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian; and
  2. the alcohol is supplied by his or her parent or guardian.

Minors are not permitted to buy alcohol. A guardian to a minor is a person who is considered as a guardian according to the Care of Children Act 2004. See the young people section for more information.

Intoxication in on-licence premises

It is illegal for on-licences to serve someone who is intoxicated or allow someone who is intoxicated to remain on the premises.

Someone is intoxicated when showing two or more of the following signs, after consuming alcohol, other drugs or substances. The Health Promotion Agency has created an easy way for people to remember – S C A B

  • Speech is impaired
  • Coordination is impaired
  • Appearance is affected
  • Behaviour is impaired

For more information, see the definition of intoxication in section 5 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Promotions at on-licences (e.g. happy hours, etc)

It is against the law for on-licences to encourage excessive consumption of alcohol. This includes the following forms of promotion or advertising:

  • Promote or advertise discounts on alcohol of 25% or more below the usual price (other than at the licensed premises, or in a catalogue or similar price list of an on-licence);
  • Promote or advertise discounts on alcohol of 25% or more that can be seen or heard from the outside of the premises;
  • Promote or advertise free alcohol except for promotion inside the premises that cannot be viewed from outside and do not encourage excessive consumption;
  • Offer any goods or services or the opportunity to win a prize when purchasing alcohol;
  • Promote or advertise alcohol in a way that aimed at or is likely to have special appeal to young people aged under 18.

For more information go to the promotion section of this website, or check out the tools below.

National guidance on alcohol promotions – On-licensed premises (Health Promotion Agency)

Host responsibility for Licensed Premises (Health Promotion Agency)

The Manager’s Guide 2014 (Health Promotion Agency)

 

Off-licensed premises include bottle stores, supermarkets and grocery stores. There are other less-common off-licences including auctioneers, mail order, wine growers and bottle stores located within taverns.

An off-licence allows the premises to sell and supply alcohol for consumption off the premises.

It is known that, in New Zealand, approximately 75% of all alcohol is sold from off-licences (43% from bottle stores, 32% from supermarkets).[i]  An off-licence also allows wholesalers to deliver alcohol directly to the customer from their own premises.

Off-licences for remote sellers are for those who use the internet, telephone, mail or other means to sell and deliver alcohol remotely to a customer who is not at the off-licence premises. Delivery must not occur between 11pm and 6am or at any time on Good Friday or Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac Day. Delivery must not occur on Easter Sunday (some exceptions, e.g. cellar door sales). 

National guidance on remote sales of alcohol

Requirements for off-licences

Intoxication: Similar to on-licences, it is illegal for off-licence premises to serve someone who is intoxicated.

Trading hours: If your Local Council has not developed their own Local Alcohol Policy then the maximum hours permitted for an off-licence are 7am to 11pm.

Promotions: It is against the law if an off-licence:

  • Promotes or advertises discounts on alcohol of 25% or more below the usual price (other than at the licenced premises, or in a catalogue or similar price list at an off-licence);
  • Promotes or advertises discounts on alcohol of 25% or more that can be seen from the outside of the premises;
  • Promote or advertise free alcohol except for promotions inside the premises that cannot be viewed from outside and do not encourage excessive consumption;
  • Offer any goods or services or the opportunity to win a prize when purchasing alcohol;
  • Promote or advertise alcohol in a way that is aimed at or likely to have special appeal to young people aged under 18.

For more information, please visit the promotion section of this website.

The Health Promotion Agency has also provided guidance on irresponsible promotion of alcohol for licensed premises:

For the full text of the requirement of irresponsible promotion of alcohol, see section 237 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

Single areas in supermarkets and grocery stores

NZ law requires that the alcohol sold in supermarkets and grocery stores is displayed in a single area. This is to limit the exposure of shoppers from any alcohol display, promotion and advertisement. The law is that  (click here for section 112 to 114):

  • There is a designated single area for alcohol products;
  • There should be no display, promotion or advertisement for alcohol outside the designated single area
  • The designated area should not be placed at the route where shoppers most frequently pass through, i.e.,
    • any entrance to the main body of the stores, or
    • the main body of the stores any check out point

However, the law states that single alcohol areas only have to limit the exposure of alcohol so far as reasonably practicable.

Decisions on what constitutes a ‘single area’ are made by the District Licensing Committee. As each retail outlet will look different, decisions are mostly made on a case by case basis. 

 

[i] Insight Economics. (2014). Economic Analysis of Auckland Council’s Draft Local Alcohol Policy. Auckland, N.Z.: Hospitality New Zealand. http://www.hospitalitynz.org.nz/~downloads/Insight_Economics_Analysis_of_Auckland_draft_LAP_15072014.pdf

 

A club licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on club premises ONLY to club members, their guests and/or members of other clubs with reciprocal visiting rights.

Club premises include sports clubs, RSAs, etc.

It is important to note that alcohol is not available for sale to the general public.


Requirements for a club licence (e.g. sports clubs, RSAs)

All club-licences must:

A club is not required to have a Duty Manager onsite for the sale of alcohol - unless this is specified by the licensing committee.

Other conditions can be placed on a club licence by the District Licensing Committee


Supply of alcohol to minors (under 18 years) at clubs

At club premises minors can only be supplied with alcohol if:

  1. The minor is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian; and
  2. the alcohol is supplied by his or her parent or guardian.

However, minors are not allowed to buy alcohol. A guardian to a minor is a person who is considered as a guardian according to the Care of Children Act 2004.


Intoxication in clubs

It is illegal for clubs to serve someone who is intoxicated or allow someone who is intoxicated to remain on the club premises.

Someone is intoxicated when showing two or more of the following signs, after consuming alcohol, other drugs or substances. The Health Promotion Agency has created an easy way for people to remember – S C A B

  • Speech is impaired
  • Coordination is impaired
  • Appearance is affected
  • Behaviour is impaired

For more information, see the definition of intoxication in section 5 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

A special licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol to anyone attending an event, private function, street party, sporting event, etc. Special licences can be either ‘on-site’ for consumption on the premises, or ‘off-site’ for consumption elsewhere. Generally speaking, these licences relate to events where alcohol is sold (e.g. included in the ticket price, etc).

Applications for a special licence are also required to be publicly notified. This means placing a notice “in a conspicuous place on or adjacent to the site which the application relates”.

Applications for special licences must be submitted at least 20 working days prior to the event.

The licensing authority or licensing committee must consult with the Police and Medical Officer of Health before approving any special licence application. The Police and the licensing committee may require the applicants to put in place some preventative measures before granting the special licences, on a case-by-case approach.

The law does not specify the number of days the public has to object to special licences. Normally, regulatory agencies will set some conditions before granting the applicants a special licence. As well as determining their trading hours, the regulatory agencies may impose conditions such as the number of alcoholic drinks per purchase and/or what types of alcoholic beverages are allowed. In your objection letter, you may ask the DLC to impose conditions for the special event.

Applying for a licence to sell or supply alcohol: A guide to applications and hearings 

Requirements for special licences

All special licences must:

  • have non-alcoholic drinks and low-alcoholic drinks (2.5% ethanol by volume) available for sale.
  • Have a range of food available for sale at a reasonable price and provided within a reasonable time.
  • provide information about alternative transportation options from the premises or event location.

Other conditions can be placed on a special licence by the District Licensing Committee.

Large-scale events may be subject to additional requirements, such as a management plan, sign off from council under the resource management act and the building code, and to liaise with Police


Special licence hours

The national maximum trading hours are 8am to 4am the following day for on-licences, but special licences can exceed these hours, or the hours that a premise is usually licenced for.  However, a special licence cannot be granted for hours exceeding those permitted for special licences in a relevant local alcohol policy.


Supply of alcohol to minors (under 18 years)

At an event or premises with a special licence, minors can only be supplied with alcohol if:

  1. The minor is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian; and
  2. the alcohol is supplied by his or her parent or guardian.

Minors are not permitted to buy alcohol. A guardian to a minor is a person who is considered as a guardian according to the Care of Children Act 2004. See the young people section for more information.


Entry of minors

Some events or premises with special licences will be designated as restricted areas, which means that young people may not enter. Others may be designated as supervised areas, which young people can enter if they are accompanied by a legal parent or guardian. See the young people section for more information.


Intoxication at events or premises with a special licence

It is illegal for a special licence to serve someone who is intoxicated or allow someone who is intoxicated to remain on the premises.

Someone is intoxicated when showing two or more of the following signs, after consuming alcohol, other drugs or substances. The Health Promotion Agency has created an easy way for people to remember – S C A B

  • Speech is impaired
  • Coordination is impaired
  • Appearance is affected
  • Behaviour is impaired

For more information, see the definition of intoxication in section 5 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.