Wellington alcohol ban

Drinking and/or possession of alcohol is prohibited at all times in any public place within the Wellington city control area. The prohibition does not apply to licensed premises or their outdoor areas, or to people carrying unopened alcohol containers from licensed premises to areas outside the alcohol free zone or to a private property.

Courtenay Place at night.
Courtenay Place at night

24/7 alcohol-free zone

The Wellington city alcohol ban is a safety initiative to:

  • reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder
  • provide a safe city environment for everyone.

Research carried out by the Council and police has found that alcohol is a factor in the majority of arrests made for disorder, violence and sexual offending in the city.

The penalty for breaching an alcohol ban is an infringement fee of $250. See our Consolidated Bylaw for more information.

Map of alcohol-free zone

Application to consume alcohol

Pursuant to section 4.1 of the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008, Part 4 - Alcohol Control, the Council can authorise low-risk activities that would otherwise breach the alcohol ban.

If you want permission to hold an event where a limited amount of alcohol will be consumed in a public place, call the Public Health Team on (04) 499 4444. Depending on the circumstances, you will either need to apply for a special license or an exemption from the bylaw.


  • Wellington City Council's 24/7 Liquor Control Bylaw came into effect on 31 July 2008 at 5pm. 
  • On 25 June 2010, Council decided to extend the alcohol ban area to include Mount Cook and Newtown.
  • The Bylaw was reviewed in 2018 and on the 13 December 2018 the new Alcohol Control Bylaw came into effect. This Bylaw made some slight changes to the control area boundaries including Mt Victoria West.
  • In 2019 the Council decided to extend the boundaries to include the Kilbirnie business area and Kilbirnie Park.