Alcohol licensing and hearings: A guide for district licensing committees

Introduction to this guide

This guide is for members of district licensing committees – whether you are new to alcohol licensing or have had previous experience. 

The guide will support you to:

  • understand your roles and responsibilities
  • increase your confidence and skills
  • give effect to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act
  • make legally sound decisions that should stand up under appeal or review.

This guide is in two parts:

Part 1 – The foundations of best practice
Part 2 – The steps in the licensing process

Part 1 sets out important information that will lay the foundations of best practice. It covers six areas:

  1. DLC roles and responsibilities
  2. Council roles and responsibilities
  3. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012
  4. Natural justice
  5. Conflicts of interest
  6. Case law

Part 2 covers the six steps in the licensing process as they apply to DLCs. The steps are:

  1. The application is submitted and reported on by the agencies
  2. The DLC chair considers the application
  3. Hearing preparation
  4. The hearing
  5. The DLC makes a decision
  6. Appeals to ARLA regarding a DLC decision

While other parties are involved at different stages in the licensing process, these six steps (and this guide) relate specifically to the role of DLC chairs, commissioners and members in the licensing process.  

Part 2 of the guide sets out legal requirements for DLCs under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and best practice guidance.

How to use this guide

You can go straight to the part of the guide most relevant to you. You do not have to read the guide from beginning to end. Nor do you have to read Part 1 before Part 2. You can jump in and out of the guide in a way that is most helpful to you.

Chairs and DLC members have different roles during the process. For example, chairs are directly involved in Step 2 of the licensing process and the chair and all DLC members are directly involved in Steps 3-5. While you may want to focus on the information most relevant to your role, we recommend that you read all the information in each step. This will help you gain a full understanding of the licensing process.

Each section of the guide contains detailed information and a toolbox of resources

The information contained in this online guide is intended as a general guide.
While reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that the information is current and accurate as at October 2019, the Health Promotion Agency cannot accept any liability for any inaccuracy, omission or deficiency in relation to the information. It is not legal advice and you should not rely on anything contained in this guide in any legal proceedings. The information provided does not replace or alter the laws of New Zealand, and you should consult the legislation and obtain your own legal and professional advice, as appropriate. The Health Promotion Agency will not accept liability for any action taken in reliance on anything contained in this online guide.