Taking over a licensed business (temporary authority)

If you're buying an established business that sells alcohol, you need a temporary authority to keep selling alcohol while you apply for your own on- or off-licence.

When to apply

An alcohol licence is granted to the owner of a business, not the business itself. If you're buying or leasing a licensed business, apply for a temporary authority so you can continue selling alcohol for 3 months while you apply for your own alcohol licence.

How to apply

Once your application is submitted, the process takes at least 20 working days.

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

1. Before you start your application

Check when the current alcohol licence expires

Make sure there is enough time left on the current alcohol licence being used for the business. If the licence expires before your temporary authority application has been considered, your application will be declined.

Talk to a licensing inspector about what needs to happen if the current licence has less than 3 months before the expiry date.

If the annual fee for the current licence is due while you are trading under a temporary authority, the fee must be paid or it will be suspended and you will have to stop selling alcohol.

Discuss your trading hours

You're not guaranteed to get the same trading hours as the current alcohol licence – so you may want to discuss your operating hours with a licensing inspector before you sign a purchase agreement for the business.

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector

Employ your duty managers

You must employ your duty managers before your temporary authority can be granted. Each duty manager must hold a current manager's certificate.

2. Prepare your supporting documents

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

3. Complete the form

Application for a temporary authority (578KB PDF)

4. Submit and pay for your application

Applying for a temporary authority costs $392.00. You need to pay the fee when you submit your application.

Make sure you have all the supporting documents required.

5. Your application is assessed

This process can take up to 20 working days.

Note: You may be contacted at any stage if we need more information, or there's opposition to your application.

Acknowledgement – 2 working days

You'll receive an acknowledgement email from the secretary of the District Licensing Committee (DLC) within 2 working days of submitting your application.

The email will tell you if your application has been accepted or rejected, and request any further documentation that may be required.

Police assessment – 5 working days

Your application will be considered by the Police who may provide a report of any convictions or concerns they have with your application.

Licensing inspector assessment – about 5 working days

An alcohol licensing inspector:

  • considers the application and the Police report
  • may visit your site or talk to you about how you will manage your business
  • submits a report to the DLC for a decision.

6. Your application is approved or declined

You'll be notified if your application has been approved or declined by post or email.

If the temporary authority is approved, you can continue to sell alcohol at your business for 3 months. During that time you must meet all the conditions of the current licence and requirements of being a licence holder.

Legal requirements for licence holders

7. Apply for your on-licence or off-licence

Because a temporary authority is only valid for 3 months, you need to apply for your own alcohol licence within 15 working days of the temporary authority being issued.

While it's possible to get a second temporary authority, the DLC will expect to see that you've made progress with your new alcohol licence application.

Applying for a new 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: AlcoholApplications@wcc.govt.nz

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector