Apply early for summer event special licences


25 October 2013

If you’re holding an event this summer that will need a special licence, make sure to plan ahead and apply as soon as possible.

From 18 December this year, the process for getting a special licence will change when the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 comes fully into force.

In the past, people have often left it late to apply for a special licence, something that was allowed under the old Sale of Liquor Act.

Under the new law, all applications must be made at least 20 working days before the event is held (although exceptions can be made for unforeseen events, such as funerals).

In particular, applications for special licences for events planned for mid-February 2014 or earlier must be lodged by 18 December.

That’s because under the new Act (and the previous Sale of Liquor Act 1989), a 'working day' does not includeweekends, statutory holidays or any day from 20 December and 15 January (inclusive).

Other changes from 18 December include:

  • applications will be decided by the new district licensing committees (DLCs). Opposed applications will be decided at a full DLC hearing. Unopposed applications can be decided by the DLC chairperson only.
  • the DLC must consider more criteria when deciding whether to grant an application. These include how the proposed event will impact the good order and amenity of an area, any local alcohol policy, and the design and layout of the area for the proposed event.
  • particular requirements may be imposed on large scale events, such as requiring a security plan and/or a plan to address public health concerns.
  • three new fee rates for special licences. In most cases, the fee depends on the size and number of events covered by the special licence. More information.

Further information is available on the Ministry of Justice website. 

So plan ahead to make sure you file your application in time to get your licence for a summer event.

Page reviewed: 25 Oct 2013 5:34pm