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 day 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, or Labour 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 about 5-6 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 and managers certificates

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

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. 

For premises licences: 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 or certificate and you will need to make a new application.

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 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". 

The following factors may also impact on application timelines for special licence applications:

  • Application deadlines include taking account of all non-working day periods as explained above. 
  • Note: the time period required for processing may be longer if there are oppositions or objections received for your application.

Special licence applications for the summer period:

  • If you want to receive a decision on your application before the Christmas period please ensure you have an application lodged with us by the first week of November at the latest due to the non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January each year.  Note this is our busiest time for processing all types of applications, especially for special licences.
  • Special licences dates and deadlines for 2019 and summer 2019–20.

2019 sacrosanct trading days for licensed premises

  • Good Friday: 19 April 2019
  • Easter Sunday: 21 April 2019
  • ANZAC Day: Thursday 25 April 2019
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday 25 December 2019

Please note: 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.

Off-licences

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

All on-licences

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.

Other Public Holidays

  • Waitangi Day – Wednesday 6 February 2019. This is not a sacrosanct day, and is a normal trading day.
  • In years where this day falls at a weekend the public holiday is transferred to the following Monday.

2019 special licence application deadlines

Waitangi Day 2019

  • This also means that all special licence applications for Waitangi Day 6 February 2019 must be received by 12 December 2018

Easter and ANZAC Day 2019

If you are planning a special event for any of these sacrosanct days and require an alcohol special licence:

  • All applications must be made at least 20 working days before the event is held, otherwise they may not be accepted by the District Licensing Committee for consideration (please refer additional information above about Late Applications for Special Licences)
  • Sacrosanct Day trading for 2019
    • Good Friday – 19 April 2019
    • Easter Sunday – 21 April 2019
    • ANZAC Day – Thursday 25 April 2019
  • Therefore any event planned in 2019 for:
    • Easter 2019 – applications must be received by Thursday 21 March 2019.
    • ANZAC Day 2019 – applications must be received by Monday 25 March 2019.

Canterbury Anniversary Week (Cup Week and Show Day)

  • Special licence applications may also be needed for events happening during Canterbury Anniversary Week.  We encourage you to apply early as this is our busiest period for processing applications.  Applications for Show Day must be received by Thursday 17 October 2019 at the very latest.

Christmas and New Years Eve 2019 and January and February 2020

  • Special licence applications must be lodged at least 20 working days before the date of the event being applied for.  We encourage you to apply early as this is our busiest period for processing applications. If you want the security of knowing whether your special licence will be granted before you start advertising you should apply even earlier. 
  • Note: New Year’s Eve comes on the same date every year.  Late notice applications are unlikely to be accepted as the need for a special licence can be reasonably foreseen.
  • Remember, Christmas is a Scarosanct day for trading.

Summer 2019/2020

As a guide, the following deadlines for special licence applications apply for summer 2019–20: 

  • The period commencing on 20 December 2019 and ending with 15 January 2020 is a non-working day period for all Alcohol Licensing applications. Carefully check the date that 20 working days before your event will be.
  • If your event date is between 19 December 2019 and 23 January 2020, you must make your application by 22 November 2019 at the latest, to ensure it can be processed and granted and issued to you by 20 December 2019.  This includes all special licence applications for Christmas and New Years Eve.
  • If your event date is between 21 January 2020 and 28 January 2020, you must make your application by 22 November 2019. Or carefully check at least 20 working days.
  • If your event date is between 29 January 2020 and 13 February 2020, we recommend make your application by early December 2019. Or carefully check at least 20 working days before the date of your event, remembering we do not count the days from 20 December to 15 January each year.
  • If you have an event on 14 February 2020, 16 January is the very last day for submitting an application on time (so think about filing before 20 December 2019 because of our non working day period from 20 December to 15 January)

Waitangi Day 2020

  • Because we do not count the days from 20 December to 15 January this also means that all special licence applications for Waitangi Day 6 February 2020 must be received by 13 December 2019 at the latest.