Members of the public can object to an application for an alcohol licence in some cases. Your objection must be in writing and must be sent to the Council’s Alcohol Licensing Team within 25 working days after the date of the first public notice.

All public notices are published in an alcohol licensing public notices register.

Each Community Board in Christchurch also emails out weekly bulletins with information for community members, networks and groups in their area. This includes a list of the current alcohol licensing public notifications for the board area and a link to this website. You can sign up to receive those weekly bulletins under the Community Board webpage(external link) for the area you live in.

You can find more detailed information about what you can object to on the Health Promotion Agency website(external link)including a useful guide explaining the grounds and how to talk about your concerns.

Canterbury Community Law(external link) also assist with free information about making objections. Please contact them to ask for an introductory workshop for your Community Groups on Alcohol Licensing, or can run a community workshop for guidance for people interested in making objections on a particular application and to learn more about what happens with applications and hearings, and DLC decision-making processes.

Separate from objecting to a licence application there are other ways in which members of the community can contact Council at any time to raise any concerns or problems you may have with an existing licenced premise, such as noise, nuisance, vandalism or specific promotions.

Read our brochure on alcohol licensing in the community [PDF, 1.1 MB].

Who can object

Only those who have a greater interest can be objectors.

You have a greater interest in the licence application if you are likely to be more directly affected by the licence than most other people. This is called having status or standing and is confirmed by the DLC at the hearing.

For example, if you live in the same street as the proposed premises you could be in a position of greater interest, compared with someone who lives 10km away and has concerns about the effects of alcohol on the community.

On the other hand, someone who is concerned about the effects of alcohol on the community in general, but who lives in a different area, may not meet the criteria for greater interest.

What you can object about

Your objections must relate to matters listed in Section 105(external link) of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, or section 131 (external link)for renewal applications.  You must make specific reference to these matters in your letter for your objection to be valid.

Note: for a new licence application where there is a licence of the same kind already in place for the premises (because of a change in ownership) and the new licence application is for the same conditions as the existing licence, then your objection can only relate to the suitability of the applicant and not any other matters. This is covered under s102 (4) and s102 (4A)(external link) of the Act.

One of the grounds for objection under s105 is whether the amenity and good order of the locality would be likely reduced, to more than a minor extent, by the issue of the licence. The Act defines good order and amenity as pleasant and agreeable. Section 106(external link) can also help us understand what good order and amenity covers (note: section 131 (external link)for renewal applications has slightly different wording for these criteria). 

This refers to the locality of the licensed premise and considers the current and future:

  • purpose which the premise will be used for.
  • noise levels.
  • issues of nuisance and vandalism.

You can find more detailed information about what you can object to on the Health Promotion Agency website(external link).

Please note that Christchurch does not currently have a Local Alcohol Policy (LAP). This means the default provisions under the Act apply to licence applications and that there are no other policy considerations the DLC can take into account when making a decision on an application.

Information about LAPs can be found on the website(external link). Any questions to Council about LAPs should be directed to the Strategic Policy Team. 

We have information below with templates to assist you with making your objection. If you have any questions about the application, how to make an objection, or the licensing process please let us know. We can explain this to you.

The inspector [PDF, 38 KB] who is managing the application file can also talk with you about the application and explain what is being applied for, your concerns, and view the file with you. They will also explain the timelines and process for you, so you will know what to expect if you decide to file an objection (this is also explained below).   

What to include in your letter

Your letter of objection must include:

  • The name and location of the proposed premises.
  • Why you have an interest that is greater than the general public in the licence application.
  • Your reasons for objecting, based on section 105 or 106 criteria.
  • Your name, address and contact details, including email address. (Note: email is the preferred mode for communication of hearings notices).
  • Your signature.

Template – Sample objection letter [DOC, 30 KB]

You can find more detailed information about the who, what and how of objections on the Health Promotion Agency website(external link).

Note: You will have the opportunity to provide more detailed information about your objection and direct evidence of your concerns before the public hearing and at the hearing.

Making a joint objection

Some residents or community groups use petitions to get support against an application. Others use a template objection letter that they give to people to complete and send in.

These can result in duplicate or illegible signatures or objections, and the Committee in at least one case has indicated that it was difficult to place any meaningful weight on a petition simply based on the numbers.

Template objection letters must include:

  • the grounds for objection, based on section 105 or 106 criteria
  • the name and address of a spokesperson or contact person, including an email address. (Note: email is the preferred mode for communication of hearings notices)
  • a legible name and address for each objector
  • a signature of each objector

Note: You will have the opportunity to provide more detailed information about your objection and direct evidence of your concerns before the public hearing and at the hearing.

Example Objectors Brief of Evidence for Hearing - associations/groups/organisations [DOCX, 31 KB]

Where to send your letter

Your objection must be made within 25 working days after the date of the public notice being made. 

Any public objections made after the public notified closing date for an application (as identified by the public notice) may not be considered by the District Licensing Committee.

Objections can be submitted by post, email, or in person:

  • Post: Alcohol Licensing, 53 Hereford Street, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154
  • Email:
  • Fax: 03 941 5033
  • In-person: Civic Offices, Ground floor reception, 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch

If your objection is received by email you will be sent an email acknowledging receipt of your objection. 

Note: Once a public objection has been filed, any public objector may also approach and speak to their Community Board to ask the Board to speak in support of their public objection and community concerns about the alcohol licence at the District Licensing Committee (DLC) hearing.

Late Objections: Any public objections made after the public notified closing date for an application (as identified in the register below) may be received but may not be considered by the Licensing Committee, as acceptance will be subject to whether the Committee considers whether a s208 waiver is appropriate in some circumstances where an objection has not been able to be filed within the timeframe set out in the Act.

Who will know about your objection

A copy of your objection is placed on the file which will eventually go to DLC for a decision. The Alcohol Licensing Team must send a copy of all objections to the alcohol licence applicant.

Applicants are allowed to know the basis of any objections so they can decide whether to change their proposal, continue with their application or prepare a response to the objections.

You are welcome to contact the applicant directly if you want a better understanding of their proposed operation or want to clarify your concerns with them. Some applicants may invite objectors or members of the public to a meeting to discuss the concerns raised.

The reporting officers (Licensing Inspector, Police, and Medical Officer of Health officers) will also be provided with a copy of all objections as this will assist in informing their own inquiries and reporting on the application. They may contact you if they need to clarify anything to assist with their own inquiries.

Objections or objector contact details will not be published or advertised. However, if you wish to appear and be heard at a public hearing then your name and the nature of your objections do become a matter of public record.

What happens to your objection

When we receive your objection we will send you an acknowledgement by email of receipt, provided you supplied a readable name and address (email is the preferred mode of communication if one is provided by you).

Your objection will also be sent to the alcohol licence applicant, placed on the inquiry file and made available to the reporting agencies to assist with their own inquiries and reporting. In some instances, these parties may contact you to clarify your concerns to assist with their inquiries.

Once all statutory reporting agencies have reported, the licence application file will be forwarded to the Hearings Advisor for the DLC for a decision, along with all objections received. The application and objections will then be considered at a public hearing.

The DLC will first assess your objection to make sure it meets the criteria for acceptance as a valid objection and consideration, this means:

  • that you have an interest greater than the general public in the licence application, and
  • that your grounds for objection meet the criteria under section 105 or 106.

When a hearing date has been set the Hearings Team will write to all those involved advising the hearing date, time and location and procedure for disclosure of evidence and submissions.   

Note: You have the opportunity to provide more detailed information about your objection and direct evidence of your concerns before the public hearing and at the hearing.

Note: email is the preferred mode of communication for hearings notices.

The notice of hearing must be sent a minimum of 10 working days before the date of the hearing. If your objection is in the form of a petition, they will contact the spokesperson. 

Hearing dates are publicly available leading up to the hearing date on the Council webpage.

District Licensing Committee (DLC) hearings

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 a decision on an application, rather than being strictly adversarial.  

You can find more detailed information for the community about this on the Health Promotion Agency website(external link).

What happens at a hearing?

At the beginning of the hearing, the Committee Advisor will ask all people who wish to have their say to complete an appearance slip.

It is not compulsory for public objectors to attend or speak at the hearing however the judge may give more weight to an objection if the objector attends the hearing to speak about their concerns. You become a full party to the hearing proceedings if you attend in person.

The Community Board for the area in which the application has been made may also seek leave from the DLC Chair to appear and be heard at the hearing.

The Community Board has a delegation from the Council to appear on the Council's behalf under section 202(4)(b). This section says that with the leave of the DLC Chair a person authorised on that behalf by the Council may appear and be heard, whether personally or by counsel, in the proceedings.

In practice, the Community Board usually only exercises this right where there are public objections and an objector has asked the Community Board to speak at the hearing. The Community Board does not become a party to the proceedings by exercising this right.

The DLC Chair will open the hearing proceedings. Next, the alcohol licence applicant or the applicant's solicitor will state their case, giving evidence and calling witnesses in support of the application. 

Then each of the statutory reporting agencies (the Licensing Inspector, Police, and Medical Officer of Health’s representative who has each reported on the application) present, may give evidence, present any matters of opposition and may call witnesses.

They also have a role to assist the Committee at the hearing by providing procedural or factual clarification information if needed.

Finally, the public objectors have their say. This will involve each objector outlining their concerns followed by an opportunity for the applicant, the Police, the Licensing Inspector, the Medical Officer of Health’s representative and the DLC members to ask questions of the objector.

The applicant and agencies also have an opportunity to give final submissions before the hearing concludes, which may include summarising what has been heard at the hearing and suggesting recommendations and references to case law.
When the hearing is finished, the DLC will reserve its decision. This means it will meet after the hearing to consider the material presented at the hearing and write the decision. All DLC decisions must be given in writing.

It may take up to six weeks for the decision to be issued. If you speak at the hearing you will be sent a copy of the decision. All DLC decisions are also posted on this website.

If you have any questions about the hearings process please contact the Hearings Advisor by email at or by phone 03 941 8999.

Quick links

Licensing information of interest to the community: