Your application checklist

A step-by-step guide to applying for a new alcohol licence.

When to apply

Apply for a new alcohol licence if you want to begin selling alcohol to members of the public from your place of business or club.

  • If your business sells alcohol to drink on the premises, apply for an on-licence.
  • If your business sells alcohol to drink elsewhere, apply for an off-licence.
  • If you run a club that will sell alcohol, apply for a club licence.

If you have an alcohol licence already but it will soon expire, apply to renew your licence.

Other types of alcohol licence

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

Applying for an alcohol licence is one of many things you might need to do when you start a business. Before you apply, make sure you've done things like:

  • arranged building and resource consents for any building work you'll be doing
  • started the process of registering to sell food (if you'll be selling food)
  • decided who your duty managers will be
  • discussed your plans with neighbours and the community to avoid objections later in the process.

Before you start

2. Talk to a licensing inspector about your plans

If this is your first application, we recommend you meet with an alcohol licensing inspector before you start.

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector

3. Prepare your supporting documents

For your application to be accepted, you need to provide information about your premises, how your business will operate, and how you plan to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Supporting documents for a new alcohol licence application

4. Complete the form

Application for a new on-licence (1MB PDF)

Application for a new off-licence (700KB PDF)

Application for a new club licence (357KB PDF)

If you’re a caterer

If you have a BYO-only restaurant

If you're only delivering alcohol

If you're only selling alcohol by mail order or via a website

If you're only selling alcohol at an auction

5. Calculate the fee

The amount you pay depends on the kind of business you run and your opening hours. 

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
  • an annual fee – to be paid before your licence is issued, and then every year after that.

Alcohol licence fees

6. 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.

In person

By post or email

7. Post your public notice

After you've submitted your application, you must post a notice to let the public know that you're intending to sell alcohol at your business.

Notify the public of your alcohol licence application

8. Application assessment

This process takes at least 20 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. 

Alcohol licence application assessment process

9. If there's opposition or objection

If your licence application 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

10. If your application is approved

You'll be notified by mail or email.

After your licence is issued, you can start selling alcohol at your business – as long as you continue to meet all the requirements of being a licence holder.

Legal requirements for licence holders

Renewing your alcohol licence

An on-licence, off-licence, or club licence is granted for 1 year when you first apply. After that you need to renew it every 3 years.

Renewing your alcohol licence

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
Email: secretaryDLC@wcc.govt.nz

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector