How to apply for an alcohol licence

Please follow these steps when applying for an alcohol licence.

Photo of bar handles

Here are the steps when applying for an alcohol licence in our district:

Step 1: Contact the Council to discuss your application

We recommend contacting our Licensing Team to discuss your application before submitting an application.

Step 2. Obtain an Alcohol Licensing Planning Certificate of Compliance and Building Certificate of Compliance (Under Section 100 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012)

These certificates are issued by us and state that the premises complies with the Resource Management Act 1991 (i.e. it is a permitted activity for the zoning of the premises in the District Plan) and the Building Code.

During this process the site will be checked for things like zoning, adequate car parking, trading hour restrictions, maximum occupancy (fire exits, toilets etc).

Step 3. Complete the appropriate application form and submit to the Council

Please ensure you read the application form carefully and ensure you submit all the relevant information and supporting documents.

Step 4. Publicly notify the application

All new applications for premises (and renewal applications) must be notified on our website  As there are many different styles of licences, the actual form of the notice and the advertisements will be arranged for you.

The cost of the publishing the Public Notices is additional to the licence application fee.

In addition, within 10 working days after filing the licence application, the applicant should ensure that notice of the application in the prescribed form is attached in a conspicuous place on or adjacent to the site to which the application relates.

Application Processing Time

It will take approximately 2 months for a standard Off, On, or Club licence application to be processed providing that the application is complete when it is lodged, the advertising has been correctly carried out, there are no issues arising from reporting agencies and there are no objections.

Special licences take a minimum of 20 working days to process. With the cooperation of all reporting agencies this time can be shortened in exceptional circumstances (e.g. special licence for a function to follow a funeral).For large events it's recommended you apply well in advance of the 20 workings days.

If you're planning to hold an event where you want to sell or supply alcohol over the Christmas and New Year period then here are some things you need to know:

  • If you need a special licence for an event that is being held between 20 December and 15 January then we must receive your application(s) before 23 November 2022.
  • Special licence applications must be received at least 20 working days*(preferably more) before your event date.
  • Late applications won’t be accepted.

*Working days don't include public holidays, weekends and the period from 20 December to 15 January inclusive.

If your application is opposed or objected to, it will go to a hearing in front of the District Licensing Committee and any decision about your application will take longer.

Need advice? Then contact us if you have any questions to or phone us at 07 8680200.

Buying an existing business - Temporary Authorities

 If you're purchasing/taking over a business that already has an alcohol licence, you can apply for a Temporary Authority that allows you to trade for up to three months under the licences's existing condtions and terms. This gives you time to lodge a new licence application. A Temporary Authoirty can't be issued to a club.

Application Fees

All licence application fees are set out in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations (fees) 2013.