Liquor Licensing


​​​Guides and Applications

Liquor Licence Applications should be lodged with the District Licensing Agency, for processing. In opposed applications, Renewal applications, Special Licences and Temporary Authorities are granted by the Agency. All other applications will be sent to the Liquor Licencing Authority in Wellington for determination.

Making a New Application

Application forms for all liquor licencing including on/off/club/special licences and more.

Special licence application deadlines for 2017/18 summer are as follows:

  • January 2018 event - apply by 17 November 2017
  • February 2018 events - apply by 8 December 2017

Each application should include the following;

  • Three copies of the application.
  • Where the applicant is Incorporated, a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or other documentary evidence of its Incorporation.
  • Where the application is a club, a copy of the Club's constitution or rules.
  • A photograph of the exterior of the premises or an artists impression of the exterior of the proposed premises as they will look when they are finished.
  • A map or copy of a map or a portion of a map showing the location of the premises.

A scale plan showing;

  • Those parts of the premises that are to be used for the sale or supply of liquor;
  • Those parts of the premises (If any) that the applicant intends should be designated as restricted areas or supervised areas;
  • Each entrance to the premises that the applicant intends should be designated as a principal entrance;
  • Where the applicant is not the owner of the premises, a written statement from the owner to the effect that the owner has no objection to the grant of a licence;
  •  A certificate by the Local Authority that the proposed use of the premises meets;
    • The requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991.
    • The requirements of the Building Code.
  • A copy of the full menu and bar menu proposed for the premises;
  • A Host Responsibility Policy must be written addressing the following points;
    • Sale and supply of non alcoholic refreshments and food,
    • Sale and supply of low alcohol beverages,
    • Provision of assistance with, or information about, alternative forms of transport from the licenced premises,
    • Restrictions on sale of liquor to minors and intoxicated persons
  • A copy of at least one recent character reference;
  • Covering letter about background and experience of applicant(s).

Within 10 working days after filing the application, give public notice of the application in the attached prescribed form. Public notice is required to be given twice in a newspaper circulating throughout the District, the second notice being not less than 5 or more than 10 days after the first notice. Please forward full page newspaper copies of your advertisements to this office; and

Within 10 working days after filing the application, you must ensure that an A4 sized copy of the public notice is attached in a conspicuous place where it is clearly visible from the exterior of the premises to members of the general public.

Compliance with Food Hygiene Regulations 1974

The premises must also comply with these regulations before a liquor licence can be issued. Contact Clutha District Council for advice on 03 419 0200.

District Licensing Committee & Decisions

The District Licensing Committee considers and determines all new and renewal applications for alcohol licences and managers' certificates.

All licence applications are required to be publicly notified. All public notices are published in the Clutha Leader.

The public can object to an application for an alcohol license if  they have 'greater interest' than the public in general, e.g. you are likely to be more directly affected by the licence than most other people. 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.

If there are no objections the application may be granted without a public hearing. If there are objections a public hearing will be held unless the objection is deemed vexatious or the applicant does not require a hearing. 

Your objection must be in writing and must be sent to the Council’s Alcohol Licensing staff within 15 working days after the date of the first public notice. 

Clutha District Council
PO Box 25
Balclutha, 9240

Your objections must relate to matters listed in Section 105 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.  You must make specific reference to these matters in your letter.

If you were a party to proceedings and disagree with the decision you can appeal to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA). Appeals are dealt with by way of a rehearing. You need to give a notice of appeal to ARLA within 10 working days of the date of the decision being notified to you. There is a cost for filing an appeal. For more information on appeals go to the Ministry of Justice Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority webpage

Decisions made by the Committee are publicly available, please contact our Regulatory Department on 0800 801 350 for a copies of decisions.

​Types of Licence

 On Licence

  • Allows liquor to be sold for consumption on the premises only.
  • Initially issued for one year, and then may be renewed for up to three years after that.
  • The hours of trade may be limited in accordance with the Council's Sale of Liquor Policy (20 July 2000).

The entire premise or specified area may be designated as:-

  • Restricted; Only over 18's may be presented.
  • Supervised; Under 18's may be present if accompanied by their parents of guardians.
  • Undesignated; Anyone of any age may be present.

BYO (Endorsed on Licence)

Allows for consumption of liquor brought to the premise by persons, and their guests present, for the purpose of dining.

Off Licence

  • Allows liquor to be sold for consumption off the premises.
  • Initially issued for one year and then may be renewed for up to three years after that.
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores can only sell wine and beer.

Club Licence

  • Allows an Incorporated Society to sell liquor to members and their guests but does not allow sales to the general public.
  • Initially issued for one year, but then may be renewed for up to three years after that.
  • Any Club leasing land should first check if the lease will allow sale of liquor.


Resource Management Requirements 

The site should be checked for the following;

  • The use to which the site will be put must be permitted in the zone.
  • Adequate parking must be provided.
  • Restrictions on trading hours for sites in or adjoining residential areas exist.
  • Maximum occupancy (toilets, fire escapes etc.).
  • Advice can be obtained by phoning the Regulatory Department on 03 419 0200.

Building Requirements in relation to Liquor Licensing

Advice regarding the following can be obtained from a Building Control Officer, please phone 03 419 0200.

  • Structural alterations.
  • Fire safety and egress.
  • Disabled access.

On Licences

On licence premises in or adjacent to a residential activity is restricted as follows;

  • Monday to Saturday 7.00am to 3.00am the following day;
  • Sunday 7.00am to 12.00 midnight

These hours are intended as a guide only and may be modified by the District Licensing Agent where  it is appropriate to do so in extraordinary circumstances.

 On Licence premises that are not in or adjacent to residential activity are restricted as follows;

The Agency will not impose any general restrictions on the hours of operation where a premises is not adjacent to a residential activity, but will consider each application on its merits. This will effectively provide the opportunity for some premises to obtain a 24 hour licence.

Off Licence

In general, the hours for Off Licenses which are run in conjunction with an On Licence, will be restricted in the same manner as the On Licence.

The Agency will not impose general restriction on the hours of operation where a stand-alone Off Licence premises is not adjacent to a residential activity, or an Off Licence is run in conjunction with a supermarket or grocery store, but will be obliged to follow any national policy as guided by the Liquor Licensing Authority.

Club Licences

Clubs, like On Licences, can have an adverse effect on adjacent residential activities. However, because of the diversity of activities and locations of clubs, it is not practical to impose specific restrictions in respect of types of clubs in residential or non residential areas. In general, the hours of operation for chartered clubs will be considered in the same manner as for On Licences.

Sports club licences should be consistent with the activity occurring and generally fall within the following parameters;

  • Sunday to Thursday 8.00am to 12.00 midnight.
  • Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays 8.00am to 2.00am the following day.

These are not standard hours, and the Agency will consider each particular application on its merits with more restrictive hours being appropriate in some residential areas.

Temporary Authority

  • Allows a licensed premises to continue trading under the existing hours and conditions when a new operator takes over.
  • Issued for a maximum of three months, then can be reviewed;
  • Licence applications in the name of the new owner must be lodged by the new operator within six weeks of the changeover;
  • May only be issued while the current licence held over the premises is valid;
  • At least two character references should accompany the application.

Special Licence

Application for Special Licence

Special licence application deadlines for 2017/18 summer are as follows:

  • January 2018 event - apply by 17 November 2017
  • February 2018 events - apply by 8 December 2017

Liquor Licence Applications should be lodged with the District Licensing Agency, for processing. In opposed applications, Renewal applications, Special Licences and Temporary Authorities are granted by the Agency. All other applications will be sent to the Liquor Licencing Authority in Wellington for determination.

A special licence can be issued pursuant to either Section 73 or 74 of the Act, A special licence issued under Section 73 authorises the holder of the licence to sell and supply liquor on the premises or conveyance described in the licence to anyone attending any occasion or event or series of occasions or events described in the licence.

A special licence issued under section 74 authorises the holder of an on or club licence to sell and supply liquor for consumption on the premises, at any time when the premises are required to be closed for the sale of liquor, to persons attending social gatherings of any kind of specified in the licence.

A special licence can be issued for any lawful activity that does not fall into the regular activity of any other category of licence specified in the Act. A special licence will not be issued where, in the opinion of the District Licencing Agency, the extent and regulatory of the activity is such that an on, off or club licence is required.

The Secretary may, in circumstances where there is likely to be an effect beyond the immediate vicinity in granting a special licence, require that the application be publicly notified.

In respect to small clubs, Council recognises that it is beyond the resources of some small clubs to meet the criteria and expense of obtaining a Club Licence. The District Agency will therefore consider applications for special licences by small clubs for a series of events. Matters which will be taken into consideration are;

  • The nature of the Club's activity,
  • The type of kind of occasion or events for which the licence is sought.,
  • Club membership;
  • Any other consideration as determined by the Secretary e.g. financial resources.

Should a licence be granted, the following conditions would apply;

  • The sale of liquor will be restricted to one occasion or event on a specified day per week.
  • The maximum trading hours on the specified day shall not exceed four hours,
  • The licence will be granted for a period of up to one year,
  • The licence will be issued for a specified premises.
  • There must also be provision for the availability of food and non alcoholic beverages.

It is considered that these criteria are restrictive enough to ensure that a special licence is not a viable option for larger clubs and at the same time, makes the many small clubs operating throughout the district aware of their responsibilities under the Sale of Liquor Act.

All new applications for special licences for small clubs will be considered by the Agency Committee. Re-application of such licences will be reviewed by the Secretary and may be referred to the Agency Committee for determination.

Notwithstanding the provision for small clubs in general, a special licence will be issued for activities or unlicensed premises for up to 6 occasions on any one licence, and shall not continue in force for longer than 12 months.

Where an application seeks and amendment to an issued special licence, an additional administration fee may be charged.

Manager's Certificates

Application/Renewal for Manager's Certificate

The holder of a General Manager's Certificate must be on duty at all times when liquor is available for sale to the public or in an On or Off licenced premises. The holder of a Club Manager's Certificate or General Manager's Certificate must be appointed and readily available for all Club Licensed premises.

Host Responsibility

District Licensing Agency can provide information posters and signs on Host Responsibility issues. A good range is also available from Public Health South, 57 Hanover Street, Dunedin 03 474 1700, or you can obtain a complete guide for host responsibilities from

18+ Identification Card

An application form for the 18+ card is available on line from

New Applicants

New applicants for General Manager's Certificates are advised to have attended a course from an NZQA accredited training provider or via and approved HSI registered assessor. Details of these are available at HSI. If a non-accredited training provider is used it will not be possible to renew a Certificate unless further training has been undertaken as recommended above. After 1 April 2006, only qualifications gained through an NZQA accredited training provider or HSI registered assessor will be acceptable for new applicants.

The Clutha District Council District Licencing Agency has for some time been recommending that people undertake training via this route rather than through a non-accredited source. The cost of this training is currently less than $400.

Existing Certificate Holders

After the 21st March, applications for the renewal of a General Manager's Certificate (Note this does not apply to Club Managers) from existing General managers Certificate Holders, will only be approved for a period of two years, unless they have obtained their LCQ. A transition test will be available via HSI approved training providers which will enable experienced managers to demonstrate their knowledge. We understand that the cost of this test should be in the region of $80-$100. After 1 April 2006, the LCQ must be obtained (via the Transition Test or undergoing the full course) before renewals may be issued. In order to apply, it will be necessary to submit to the HSI, the following documents;

  • Proof of training i.e. your NZQA record of achievement or the front page of the Transition Test.
  • A copy of your existing GM certificate,
  • An application form (Due to changes in legislation, all forms relating to Liquor Licensing are currently being updated. New forms will be available here soon, but in the meantime, if you require assistance, please contact our Regulatory Department on 03 419 0200 during office hours),
  • A cheque for $20.00.


Where applicants for General Managers Certificate are only able to demonstrate experience within an Off Licence environment, the District Licensing Agency will request that they complete an undertaking. This will result in an endorsement on their Certificate, when it is finally issued. The effect of this endorsement will be to restrict the applicant from managing within an On Licence environment until such time as they have demonstrated adequate experience. This is normally a minimum of 6 months for tavern style On Licences.

Agency Policy

A copy of the Clutha Licensing Agency Sale of Liquor Policy is available on our Policies Page.

Impact of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 for Managers Certificates

The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 commenced on Monday 29 November 2004. The Act will enable individuals who satisfy all of the eligibility criteria to conceal all of their convictions in most circumstances. It sets a high standard threshold for eligibility.

The general criteria for obtaining the benefits of the "Clean Slate" Scheme are set out below. Section 7 of the Act should be consulted for full information.

The individual must have;

  • No convictions within the last 7 years;
  • Never been sentenced to a custodial sentence (e.g. imprisonment, corrective training, borstal);
  • Never been ordered by a Court during a criminal case to be detained in a hospital due to his/her mental condition, instead of being sentenced;
  • Not been convicted of a "specified offence" (e.g. sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired ‑ see interpretation section for a full list);
  • Paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the Court in a criminal case;
  • Never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 or an earlier equivalent provision (section 65 relates to mandatory penalties for repeat offences involving use of alcohol or drugs).

There are some exceptions under section 19 of the Act where all convictions must continue to be disclosed. However, no exception applies for the purposes of determining applications for manager's certificates under the Sale of Liquor Act 1989. Section 21 of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 provides that any reference in a provision to an individual's criminal record or character or fitness must be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the clean slate scheme. Therefore, where an individual is eligible for a "clean slate", he or she will be entitled to conceal their criminal record, and their criminal record would not be accessed or used when determining whether or not the individual is a "fit and proper person".

There is additional information about the legislation at Ministry of Justice.  In addition, the Ministry has produced a pamphlet which will be available on the website as well as at courts, police stations, citizens advice bureaux and community law centres.

Seeking Re-definition or Re-designation of Licensed Premises

An application form is now available for purposes of seeking changes to the defined areas included within a license or the designation that are applied.

Rules for Raffles and Lotteries

We are sometimes asked what the rules are governing raffles and lotteries. Many Clubs and Societies will run these from time to time and it can be difficult to establish precisely what the rules are governing these activities. Here are the main points that we think you will find useful:-


When holding a raffle there are a number of things a club needs to be aware of.

Items that cannot be used as prizes are:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Liquor
  • Second hand goods
  • Land not zoned residential (e.g. commercial/industrial land)
  • Vouchers or entitlements for the above.

 Small Lotteries

 Exemption from s34 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977.

 Where prizes in total in a lottery do not exceed $500, you do not need a licence. However, the Act still requires you to follow some rules.

 Section 34(1) of the Act sets out those rules, which can be briefly stated as follows:

  • All proceeds of the lottery, after expenses and prizes, must be applied to the authorised purpose for which the lottery was conducted.
  • The police must be notified about the details of the lottery.
  • The tickets for the lottery must contain specific information.
  • Member-only lotteries must not be sold to non-members. Lotteries run in an entertainment context must be limited to that context.
  • The lottery must be conducted by a member of the society.
  • Prizes cannot be changed after tickets are first offered for sale.
  • Unsolicited tickets must not be distributed.
  • No-one other than an authorised employee of the  society can be paid for commission.
  • Every ticket sold, and no other ticket, must be included in the draw.
  • The society cannot hold a ticket in its own name.
  • The drawing of the lottery must be open to the public.
  • The result of the draw must be declared within a specific time.
  • The prize must only go to the purchaser of the winning ticket.
  • An audited statement of receipts, payments and details of those involved in conducting the lottery must be provided on request.
  • If the prize is unclaimed after 3 months, it must be  disposed of in accordance with the Department of Internal Affairs' directions.

Fees and Charges

Please refer to our Fees and Charges page for the latest costs associated with liquor licensing.


Page reviewed: 11 Jan 2018 10:00am