Alcohol licence application assessment process

Once you've submitted your application and documents, they're considered and assessed by Council, Police, the Ministry of Health and others.

Assessing your on-licence application

This process takes at least 35 working days.

Your application will be assessed and considered according to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, which states that:

  • the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol should be undertaken safely and responsibly
  • the harm caused by the excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol should be minimised.

The District Licensing Committee (DLC) will determine whether:

  • you are a suitable person to hold a licence
  • your premises meets licensing requirements
  • you will sell and supply alcohol in a responsible way.

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

1. Acknowledgement – 5 working days

You'll receive an acknowledgement email from the Alcohol Licencing team within 5 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.

If all your documentation is correct, you may not be contacted again unless a reporting agency wants to visit your business, or your application is sent to the District Licensing Committee for a decision.

2. Public notice period – 25 working days

If members of the public object to your licence application, they can make a submission to the Council in writing during this time.

As well as an alcohol licensing inspector, your application will be considered by:

  • an alcohol harm prevention officer from NZ Police
  • a medical officer of health from Capital & Coast DHB.

These agencies might contact you to discuss your application or request further information. They can submit reports, comments or objections to the DLC within the 25 working days period.

Notifying the public

During the public notice period, 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

3. Licensing inspector assessment – about 10 working days

After the public notice period has ended, an alcohol licensing inspector:

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

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 

4. 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

Contact us

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