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

If your application is objected to by a member of public, or opposed by the Police, DHB or licensing inspector, you'll need to present your case at a hearing.

Who can object to or oppose your application

If your application is objected to or opposed, your licence application may be declined. You can try to reach an agreement or compromise with the parties involved, or attend a hearing to present your case.

Your application can be objected to by:

  • a member of the public who can show they have a 'greater interest than the general public' – for example, if they live very close to your business and are concerned about noise from intoxicated customers.

Notify the public of your alcohol licence application

Your application can be opposed by:

  • an alcohol harm reduction officer from NZ Police
  • a medical officer of health from Capital & Coast DHB
  • the Council's licensing inspector.

Alcohol licence application assessment process

What you can do

You'll be sent a copy of any opposing reports or public objections.

Before a hearing is organised, you can try to negotiate with the objector or reporting agency. You might:

  • prepare a response to the objector or reporting agency
  • change your application to address the concerns, for example reducing your operating hours
  • invite objectors or members of the public to a meeting to discuss their concerns.

If you reach an agreement, the objection or opposition could be withdrawn without needing to go to a hearing.

If your application goes to a hearing

You'll be invited to a hearing where you can present your case to the District Licensing Committee (DLC) if:

  • there are objections or opposition to your application that haven't been able to be resolved
  • the DLC has concerns about your application – even if there's no objection or opposition.

District Licensing Committee

You'll be told the time, date and venue at least 10 working days before the hearing takes place. Hearings are usually held at Wellington City Council’s offices (113 The Terrace).

You can:

  • seek legal advice from a lawyer before the hearing
  • ask witnesses to speak in support of your application.

At the hearing, you (or your lawyer) will present your case to:

  • a commissioner (or chairperson) and two list members of the DLC
  • any objectors from the public, NZ Police, the DHB, or the Council.

Public hearings – how they work (90KB PDF)

Example of a hearing – NZLII

The committee makes a decision

After the hearing, the committee may reserve its decision. This means it will meet after the hearing to consider the case and make a decision. This can take several weeks.

You'll receive a copy of the decision by post. It will tell you if your application has been approved or declined – and the reasons why.

Appeal the decision

If you disagree with the committee's decision, you can submit an appeal to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority within 10 working days.

Any of the other parties to the hearing can also choose to submit an appeal.

Make an appeal against a district licensing committee decision – Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority

Need help?

Once an application has been opposed or objected to, alcohol licensing inspectors can only answer questions about the process – they aren't allowed to give you advice. If you need help at this stage, we recommend you contact a lawyer.

Alcohol Licensing
Phone: 04 801 3760
Email: secretaryDLC@wcc.govt.nz

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector