Apply for (or renew) a licence

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To sell or supply alcohol, either as a business, club or at a special event, you must apply for the appropriate alcohol licence. The information below covers licence types, criteria and conditions, how to apply, the process once applications have been received and annual fees.

If you still need more information, please contact us​ (ask for alcohol licensing) or email us​​.​​​

Click on the lin​​​ks below to jump to each topic: 

Types of licence

On-lice​nce

An on-licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises or conveyance. Examples of on-licence premises include:

  • Bar, pub, tavern or nightclub.
  • Restaurant or cafe (including 'bring you own' alcohol - BYO).
  • Theatre or cinema.
  • Hotel.
  • Caterer.
  • Conveyance - plane, train, bus, boat etc.

Off-licence

An off-licence allows the sale, supply or delivery of alcohol for consumption elsewhere off the premises. Examples of off-licence premises include:

  • Bottle store.
  • Supermarket or grocery store.
  • Remote sales (eg, online sales).

Please note, under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, dairies, petrol stations and convenience stores cannot hold an off-licence.

Club licence

A club licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol on the premises to club members, their guests and members of other clubs with equivalent visiting rights. Examples of club licence premises include:

  • Sports club.
  • Returned Services Association - RSA.
  • Workingmen's club.
  • Social club.

Special licence

A special licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol on a given premises or conveyance for the duration of a specific occasion or event. A special licence can also be issued to an on- or club licensee for an event not covered by their licence. Examples of events that may require a special licence are:

  • Sports event.
  • Concert, show or festival.
  • Street party.
  • Private function, eg, birthday, wedding reception (where alcohol is being sold).

Read more about special licences and whether you require one.

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Temporary authority

A temporary authority to operate can be obtained for an existing premises that currently has an on- or off-licence if the premises has been sold. If you purchase an existing licensed business and wish to continue selling alcohol, you may apply for a temporary authority to operate until your own licence has been granted. A temporary authority is valid for a maximum period of three months and will only be issued if the existing licence for the premises is still valid.​

Criteria for on-/off-/club licences

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, there are a number of criteria that our district licensing committee (DLC) has to consider when assessing an application for an on-, off- or club licence. Therefore applying for a licence is a very comprehensive process: to ensure we capture all required information from the applicant.

 In deciding whether to issue a licence, the DLC must have regard to the following matters:
  • The object of the Act.
  • The suitability of the applicant.
  • Any relevant local alcohol policy​.
  • The licence's days and hours.
  • The design and layout of the premises.
  • Whether the applicant proposes to engage in the sale of goods or services other than alcohol, low-alcohol/
    non-alcoholic refreshments, and food.

  • The amenity and good order of the locality.
  • Whether the applicant has appropriate ​systems, staff, and training guidelines to comply with the law.
  • Any matters dealt with in any report from the Police, an inspector, or a Medical Officer of Health.

​​Licence conditions

All licences have conditions relating to the sale and supply of alcohol, as well as other matters relating to the operation of the premises. A licence is issued to an individual person, partnership, company or legal entity for a specific premises or conveyance for specific trading days and hours. A licence cannot be transferred to another person or location. Failure to comply with the conditions of a licence can lead to action being taken by the regulatory agencies and may ultimately lead to fines and/or loss of the licence.

Variation or cancellation of conditions

The holder of a licence may at any time apply to the licensing committee to vary or cancel any condition of the licence. The application must be made in the prescribed form and manner and be accompanied by any prescribed fee. 

Download our application forms as PDFs. 

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Planning verification/building certificates

Before you can file your application for an on-, off- or club licence, you must get certificates stating that the proposed use of the premises meets the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (planning verification certificate) and the NZ Building Code (building certificate). You will need to supply an application fee and some supporting documentation with your application. For further details, please download the application forms.

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Managers' certificates

All duty managers employed to serve alcohol in a licensed premises need to have a valid manager's certificate. If you are the licensee for the premises, it is also your responsibility to ensure duty managers have the required certification; and that you notify the DLC and the Police of any changes to duty managers (including situations when you need to operate with a temporary manager). 

Find out more about applying for or renewing managers' certificates​ and licensee obligations in relation to the appointment of managers​.

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Apply for a licence

A separate application must be submitted for each type of licence, along with a non-refundable fee. Download our application forms as PDFs. 

You will also need to supply some supporting documentation with your application. The application checklist on the first page of each application form will assist you in filing a complete application.

Applications can be lodged at the Customer Service Centre at Hamilton City Council in Garden Place. Alternatively, applications can be posted to The Secretary, Hamilton District Licensing Committee, Private Bag 3010, Hamilton 3240.

Public notices

When you make an application for a new licence or renewal of licence, you will no longer be required to fill out a public notice form and take it to the Waikato Times. ​ All public notices will be published on our website. More information on this new process can be found here.

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Renew a licence

All on-, off- and club licences are issued for an initial 12-month period and once renewed, are valid for three years after that. It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure the application for renewal of a licence is submitted at least 20 working days before the expiry date. If you know your application is going to be filed less than 20 working days before the current licence expires, you will need to apply for a waiver. The waiver allows you to explain to the district licensing committee why your application is late. If a licence expires before an application for renewal has been submitted, alcohol sales are required to cease immediately and all alcohol is to be removed from the premises.

A separate application must be submitted for each type of licence, along with a non-refundable fee. Download our application forms as PDFs. 

You will also need to supply some supporting documentation with your application. The application checklist on the first page of each application form will assist you in filing a complete application.

Applications can be lodged at the Customer Service Centre at Hamilton City Council in Garden Place. Alternatively, applications can be posted to The Secretary, Hamilton District Licensing Committee, Private Bag 3010, Hamilton 3240.

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The application process

Applications can take up to three months to process, or longer if further information is needed from the applicant or a public hearing is required. To ensure a smooth and swift processing time, it is important that the information supplied with your application is complete and accurate

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

Once received, your application is checked to ensure that the details you have supplied are in line with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. The criteria for the issue of a licence is set out in section 105 of the Act and the criteria for renewal is set out in section 131.

In addition to The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, a licence must also comply with any other act or policy that Council deems relevant, such as the Building C​​​ode​ of Complian​ceResource Management Act or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974. For more details on relevant acts and policies, see the NZ Legislation website​.

A copy of the application is sent to the Police, the Medical Officer of Health and the Licensing Inspector, for their report. The applicant will receive copies of these reports as well as any objections received.

Finally, once all documentation and reports are received, the application is then put before our district licensing committee (DLC) for their decision. If your application receives any objection,  a public hearing may be required. The DLC may also refer your application to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA). You will receive notification of the DLC's decision via mail.

​Find out about applying for special licences for alcohol at events​ or applying for or renewing a manager's certificate​.

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Annual fee

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, all on-, off- and club licensees are required to pay an annual fee. Due on the anniversary of the date on which the licence was issued, the annual fee is risk-based. For applications for a new on-, off-​​ or club licence, the first annual fee is due prior to the licence being issued.

The Act states that a licence for which the annual fee is not paid within 30 days after the day on which it is due is automatically suspended. You can read more about how annual alcohol licensing fees are calculated.​

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Other licences​

Find out more about applying for (or renewing) a manager's certificate​; and applying for a special licence for serving alcohol at events​.​​

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Page reviewed: 24 Mar 2017 2:39pm