The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 specifies timelines, deadlines and non-working days that can impact on filing and assessment of alcohol licencing applications. The Act also specifies sacrosanct days on which the sale of alcohol is restricted.

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

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

Premises licence applications

Premises applications should be made well before your licence is required. On average 5 to 6 weeks is required to allow for public notification, processing, statutory reporting on your application, and issuing of a District Licensing Committee (DLC) decision on your licence. 

  • This includes taking account of all non-working day periods including as explained above. 
  • The time period required for processing may be longer if there are oppositions from the agencies or objections from the public received for your application or if you have not supplied all the information required to assess your application.

Premises applications made in November/December:

  • If you want to receive a decision on your application before the Christmas period please ensure you have your application lodged with us at the beginning of November at the latest due to the non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January each year. 
  • This is our busiest time of the year for processing all types of applications.

Renewal of premises licences

Renewal applications (external link)for licences must be lodged 20 working days before the expiry date of the current licence.  In no case may the application be filed after the licence has expired. 

If you allow your licence to expire, it means you can no longer sell or supply alcohol or have it consumed or displayed on your premises.

You cannot renew an expired licence and you will need to make a new application.

It is your responsibility to ensure renewals are received on time. If no renewal is received by the expiry date your licence or certificate automatically expires. 

Special licence applications

Special licence applications(external link) must be lodged at least 20 working days before the date of the event, otherwise they may not be accepted by the DLC for consideration. 

Short notice (late) applications(external link) made less than 20 working days before the event date must be accompanied by a letter explaining the reason for its lateness. A DLC Commissioner will make a decision on whether your late application can be accepted for assessment. You need to have a good reason as the Act refers to the reason for lateness as could not reasonably have been foreseen. 

Application deadlines and non-working days may also impact timelines for special licence applications. Processing may also be longer if there are oppositions or objections received for your application.

Special licence applications up to Christmas and over summer

This is our busiest time for processing all types of applications, especially special licences.

Lodge your application early, if in doubt contact alcohol licensing for specific time frames. 

Special licences dates and deadlines can be found below.

Sacrosanct trading days for licensed premises

  • Good Friday and Easter Sunday 
  • ANZAC Day until 1pm 
  • Christmas Day

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, referring to Easter Sunday trading, does not override the requirements for the sale of alcohol under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and the requirements for a special licence on sacrosanct days.


Premises holding an off-licence are not permitted to sell alcohol on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac day.


No alcohol is to be sold on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac day to any person other than those who are:

  • for the time being, living on the premises; or
  • present on the premises for the purpose of dining.

Casual drinking is not permitted. This includes restaurants.