Objecting to an alcohol application

Anyone can object to an application for a Licence, Licence renewal, or variation of Licence conditions.

How to lodge an objection

Your objection must be in writing and filed with the Council within 25 working days after the date that a licensing application is published on the Wellington City Council website.

Can I object to a licence?

Anyone can object to an application for a Licence, Licence renewal, or variation of Licence conditions. However, a trade competitor may object to an application only if they are directly affected by the application in a way that does not relate to trade competition, or the effects of trade competition. 

A trade competitor is a person who holds a licence to sell alcohol, even if they do not actually sell alcohol. An objector from anywhere in New Zealand could be considered a trade competitor, even if they do not live in the same city as the premises that is seeking a licence. A person who is receiving help from a trade competitor cannot object at all.

Grounds for objection

You can object to an alcohol licence based on any of the following criteria:

  • the object of the Act
  • the suitability of the applicant
  • any relevant local alcohol policy
  • the days and hours of sale
  • the design and layout of premises
  • the sale of goods other than alcohol and refreshments
  • the provision of other services not related to the sale of alcohol and refreshments
  • whether amenity (attractiveness) and good order of the area would be substantially reduced
  • the undesirability of further licences where amenity and good order have already been reduced
  • whether the applicant has systems, staff, and training to comply with the law
  • any matters reported by the Police, an inspector, or the Medical Officer of Health. 

For definitions of the above, see criteria for licences to sell or supply alcohol under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

How do I talk about my concerns?

In your objection you will need to link your concerns to the criteria. For example, you may be concerned that another licensed premises in your street would add to existing noise, vandalism, and disturbance. 

You might want to talk about the current situation (for example: noise levels at night, litter, or others) and then your concerns about how it would be affected by a new licensed premises, or the renewal of the licence. If you have a concern about the suitability of the applicant, you should have evidence that shows why they are unsuitable. 

It is important that you are as specific as possible about the concerns you have. They must also relate to the licensed premises the application is for and its impact on your community, not just general concerns about alcohol use in New Zealand. 

Your objections should be backed up with evidence. For example, you could note down the dates and times that there were noise disruptions, or take photos of damage that has been done, associated with the licensed premises.

How the licensing decision is made

The District Licensing Committee (DLC) will acknowledge receiving your objection, or you may be contacted by a licensing inspector to discuss it. A copy of your objection is also sent to the licence applicant. 

Copies of the application and any objections are also sent to the Police, Medical Officer of Health (Regional Public Health Service) and licensing inspector (who works for the territorial authority but acts independently to enforce the Act, monitor licences, and advise the DLC and Alcohol Regulatory & Licensing Authority (ARLA) on applications). 

Licensing inspectors must provide a report to the DLC on each licence application. The Medical Officer of Health and the Police must inquire into each application and report to the DLC on them when they have matters in opposition. 

The DLC will consider all licence applications whether contested or not. If there are no objections the application may be granted without a public hearing. If there are objections a public hearing with all parties must be held. If the objection is deemed unreasonable, or if the applicant does not require one, a hearing may not be held. 

When evaluating any application for a licence, the DLC and ARLA must always consider the criteria. 

For a more in-depth look into the objection process, from submission to hearing, refer to this guide created by Te Whatu Ora

For historic ARLA (2014 onwards) and Liquor Licensing Authority (LLA, before 2014) Licensing application decisions, visit the Ministry of Justice website.

Lodge an objection

Please use the following form to lodge your objection. If you would like to talk to someone about your objection, you can call the alcohol licensing team on 04 801 3760.

Who will know about your objection

We are required to forward a copy of all objections to the licence applicant. Applicants are entitled to know the basis of any objections so they can consider whether to change their proposal, continue with their application, or prepare a direct response to the objections. Some applicants may invite objectors or members of the public to a meeting to discuss the concerns raised.

Objector contact details will not be published or advertised. However, the names of objectors and the basis of the objections may be included in the DLC decision document, which will be publicly available. 

Need help? 

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

Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley can provide support in making objections to alcohol licensing applications and preparing submissions for DLC hearings.