Once your application is accepted by the Alcohol Licensing Team there are a number of steps to processing your application for an alcohol licence.

Public notices

Within 10 working days of lodging your application, you must place notice of your application in a conspicuous place on or adjacent to your premises.

Within 20 working days of lodging your application, you are required to give public notice of the application. We will tell you how to publish notice of your application as this is done on an alcohol licensing public notice register.

Objections to the licence must be filed with the Alcohol Licensing Team within 25 working days of the first public notice.

We will provide you with the information to be included in these notices for the main entrance of your premises.

Please note that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 defines a working day as a day that is not:

  • A Saturday, a Sunday, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign's Birthday, or Labour Day; or
  • A day in the period commencing on 20th December in one year and ending with 15th January in the next year.

Assessing your application

The Police, Medical Officer of Health and Inspector will look into your application and provide a report.  This will include an inspection of your premises.

The role of inspectors: [PDF, 38 KB]Separate from the DLC Commissioner's (who make the final decisions on all applications), Council Inspectors have a role in reporting, monitoring, and compliance. Inspectors report on an application regardless of whether or not there are matters in opposition by any of the other reporting agencies or public objectors.

When the agencies (Police, Medical Officer of Health and Inspector) look into an application and report they will:

  • Assess the form of the application,
  • Consider particular restrictions, conditions and prescribed requirements for different types of licences (required by the Act and Regulations); and
  • Consider the criteria for issuing of applications under sections 105, 106, and 131 matters, (for example amenity and good order of locality and factors such as noise, nuisance and vandalism in the locality.) These considerations are the same grounds on which public objections can be made (see below).
  • Consider the Local Alcohol Policy if one is in place. (Christchurch does not currently have a Local Alcohol Policy (LAP). This means the default provisions under the Act apply. Information about LAPs can be found at the justice.govt.nz website(external link). LAP questions to Council should be directed to the Strategic Policy Team). 

Section 105-106 and 131 matters include:

  • The Object of the Act. The object has two parts and is considered alongside the Purpose of the Act. When issuing or renewing a license the overall assessment takes into account if granting this application fits with the intent of the object of the Act.
    • We need to consider whether the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol undertaken by this licence is done safely and responsibly by the licensee.
    • We also consider whether the steps proposed to manage the premises meet the conditions of the licence, are reasonable, and will minimising harm caused by inappropriate or excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • The suitability of the applicant
  • The days on which and the hours during which alcohol will be sold
  • Steps proposed to be taken by the applicant to ensure that the requirements of the law in relation to the sale of alcohol to prohibited persons are observed such as not serving alcohol to minors and intoxicated people
  • Whether the applicant is engaged, or proposes to engage, in the sale or supply of any other goods besides alcohol or the provision of any services other than those directly related to the sale of supply of alcohol, and, if so, the nature of those goods or services
  • Amenity and good order. This refers to the locality of the licensed premise and considers:
    •  the purpose which the premise will be used for,
    • noise levels
    • any issues of nuisance and vandalism.
  • The design and layout of the premises
  • Appropriate staff, systems and training to comply with the law.
  • We need to consider whether the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol undertaken by this licence is done safely and responsibly by the licensee.

 The District Licensing Committee will decide whether to issue the licence and what conditions it should contain.

If there are objections from any of the agencies or valid public objections the application will be heard at a public hearing by the District Licensing Committee.

The DLC is a tribunal. The hearing is a legal process similar to a tribunal hearing with a Chairperson or Commissioner and a panel of appointed members. There will be a certain degree of formality with the hearing, but the focus for the Committee (as a semi-judicial panel of inquiry) is to hear evidence that will help them make their decision on an application, rather than being strictly adversarial.  

For further information on the role of District Licensing Committees(external link) and the Alcohol Licensing Regulatory Authority (external link)(ARLA) please also see the Health Promotion Agency web information. 

Applying before your premises are finished

You can apply for your alcohol licence before your premises are finished.

 You will still require a Certificate of Compliance (under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012), which includes consent from the landlord if required before you can apply.

The Council’s Alcohol Licensing Team can start processing your application, and in most circumstances, the agencies will report (subject to final inspection of fit-out) and the DLC will usually issue a decision granting the licence.  But the licence will not be issued until all final clearances required are completed. Where there has been building work involved this will include either the issuing by the building team of a final Code Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Public Use.  

There may also be other clearances required for issuing the alcohol licence which the inspector will discuss with you, which usually include the appointment of Duty Managers.  For some licences, there may be other clearance requirements but the inspector will have advised you of these for your agreement before your application is referred for the DLC decision. It’s your responsibility to provide all the required documents and information we need for any clearances.

If you are selling food you require a notice of registration under the Food Act 2014.

Licensing news and information updates for licensees

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