Applying for a variation to the conditions of your alcohol licence

You need to apply for a variation if you want to change the conditions of your on-licence, off-licence or club licence.

When to apply

You need to apply for a variation to the conditions of your alcohol licence if you want to change:

  • the days or hours you're licensed to sell alcohol
  • the areas of your premises that are licensed
  • the type of premises you operate – for example, changing from a restaurant to a tavern
  • designated areas within your premises – for example, areas that are restricted (no one under 18 can enter) or areas that are supervised (under 18s must have a parent or guardian with them).

Note: If applying for a variation isn’t urgent, you may want to wait until you next renew your licence. Doing them together means you’ll only pay one set of fees.

How to apply 

Once your application is submitted, the process takes at least 35 working days.

If you have any questions during the process, you can meet with an alcohol licensing inspector for help or advice – it's free.

1. Before you start your application

If you're doing building work, you need your building consent (and resource consent if required) approved before you can apply for your variation.

You don't need to have completed the building work or received a code compliance certificate – as part of your application, you'll order certificates to show you either have building and resource consents, or don't need them.

Building and resource consents

2. Prepare your supporting documents

You must provide copies of all these documents with your application – if you don’t, your application can be delayed or rejected.

Documents required for all licence types

Extra documents required for an on-licence

Extra documents required for an off-licence

Extra documents required for a club licence

3. Complete the form

Application for renewal and/or variation of an on-licence (400KB PDF)

Application for renewal and/or variation of an off-licence (327KB PDF)

Application for renewal and/or variation of a club licence (357KB PDF)

4. Calculate the fee

When you apply to make a variation to your licence, you'll pay:

  • an application fee
  • a public notice fee – either $150 with your application to advertise on our website, or a separate charge to the Dominion Post.

You can choose to pay your annual fee at the same time or wait until it's due.

Alcohol licence fees

5. Submit and pay for your application

Make sure you have all the supporting documents required and you've correctly calculated the fee you need to pay.

6. Post your public notice

After you've submitted your application, you must post a notice to let the public know that you've applied to make a change to your alcohol licence.

Notify the public of your alcohol licence application

7. Application assessment

This process takes at least 35 working days. Your application will be assessed by a Council licensing inspector (who might also visit your premises), an alcohol harm reduction officer from NZ Police, and a medical officer of health from Capital & Coast DHB.

Application assessment process

Note: Currently there are delays for some applications due to the COVID-19 Epidemic Notice. While the Notice is still in place the timeframes for Police and the Medical Officer of Health to report on applications are suspended.

8. If there's opposition or objection

If your licence variation is opposed, or objected to by a member of the public, you may be able to resolve the issue through discussion or by making a change to your application (for example, reducing your hours). If you prefer not to negotiate or change your application, you'll have a chance to present your case at a hearing.

If there's opposition or objection to your alcohol licence application

9. If your variation is approved

You'll be notified by mail or email.

You must continue to meet all the requirements of your current licence until your variation is approved.

Legal requirements for licence holders

Need help?

You can meet with an alcohol licensing inspector for free. They're available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Alcohol Licensing
Phone: 04 801 3760

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector