2.3.2 Best practice guidance for DLCs for Step 3
When to hold a hearing
If the DLC is thinking of declining an application, or if it wants to impose conditions outside of those the applicant has applied for, it should set down a hearing. A hearing gives the parties a chance to have their say. After deliberations, the DLC may decline the application or grant it with conditions. At the end of the hearing the chair should advise the parties of the next steps. The chair could give the parties a timeframe for the written decision. A timeframe should be realistic. Alternatively, the DLC may issue an oral decision at the time of a hearing. It would then follow up with a written decision outlining in full the reasons for the oral decision.
Preparing for the hearing: what you need to do
- Read all the material you receive.
- Identify any conflicts of interest and deal with them.
- Consider the application against the object and criteria in the Act.
- Consider whether the application is consistent, or not, with any LAP that may be in force.
- Consider agency reports.
- Consider any relevant case law.
These steps are outlined in more detail below.
1. Read all the material you receive
You should receive a complete file for every application. This will include:
- the application (as completed by the applicant)
- any information on resource or building consent requirements (from council staff) – these are known as 100(f) certificates
- the inspector’s report
- reports from the Police and the Medical Officer of Health if they have chosen to report/have matters in opposition
- copies of any public objections
- a date-stamped floor plan of the intended licensed area with the designated areas, if any, colour coded
- copies of the public notification notices
- any other information the inspector or parties deem relevant
- evidence from the parties.
This information could be provided to you in hard copy or electronically, depending on the processes at your council.
While reading the material, you should write a list of questions that you want to ask at the hearing.
If you do not have all of the required information, you should ask the secretary to obtain it.
2. Identify any real or perceived conflict of interest
Once you have all the material, you can identify whether you have any real or perceived conflict of interest with the application. A conflict of interest can arise when:
- you could benefit financially or otherwise from a DLC decision, either directly or indirectly through someone you are connected to
- your duty to the DLC competes with a duty or loyalty you have to another organisation or person.
Examples of real or perceived conflicts of interest for DLC members could include:
- being related to an applicant or any other parties
- being on close personal terms with an applicant or any other parties
- having a financial interest in the premises, in any allied businesses, or in any competitor
- belonging to a group that is a party to a hearing
- having a pre-stated position either supporting or opposing the sale and supply of alcohol generally
- having made public comments (including online) either supporting or opposing the specific premises or parties to the application
- being or knowing the property owner of the site of the premises.
You need to be sure that you have no conflict of interest that would make it inappropriate for you to take part in the decision. Even where no actual bias exists, you should be careful to avoid the perception of bias. This includes any situation where it could be perceived that your personal interest or loyalties could affect your decision making.
Declare any conflict of interest you may have to the secretary of the DLC. For more detailed information see the section on Conflicts of interest.
If you have no conflict of interest, or you have identified and addressed any conflicts of interest, you can begin to consider the application. The application should be considered against the criteria set out in the Act, alongside reports from the agencies (the inspector, Police and Medical Officer of Health) and any public objections. Your knowledge of case law precedents will provide guidance about how to consider each of the criteria in the particular context of your case. You will also need to check the application against any local alcohol policies that are in force.
3. Consider the application against the object and criteria in the Act
When you make a decision on matters that come before your DLC, you should consider each case against the object and criteria set out the Act.
The object of the Act is that “the sale, supply, and consumption of alcohol should be undertaken safely” and “the harm caused by the excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol should be minimised” (s 4(1)). The object of the Act relates to sale, supply and consumption, and the definition of harm relates to inappropriate or excessive consumption. DLCs are able to consider the effects of the consumption of alcohol purchased from a premises even where the alcohol is consumed elsewhere (see the High Court decision in Medical Officer of Health (Wellington Region) v Lion Liquor Retail Limited  NZHC 1123 [18 May 2018]). This is particularly relevant for off-licence applications.
The criteria are set out in the following sections:
- New licences (ss 105 and 106)
- Renewals (ss 105 and 131)
- Special licences (s 142)
- Manager’s certificates (ss 222 and 227)
4. Consider whether the application is consistent, or not, with any LAP that may be in force
A LAP is a set of rules made by a council in consultation with its community about the sale and supply of alcohol in its local area. Local alcohol policies are developed under the Act. As a DLC, you must have regard to any relevant LAP in all your decisions about alcohol licences. If you consider that the issue of a licence, or the consequences of the issue of a licence, would be inconsistent with a LAP, you can refuse the licence. You can also issue a licence subject to conditions if you consider that the issue of a licence, or the consequences of the issue of a licence, without those conditions would be inconsistent with a LAP. You can get further information on local alcohol policies here.
5. Consider agency reports
The inspector must report on all applications. The inspector’s report will usually be the most detailed of the three agency reports.
The Police and the Medical Officer of Health must provide a report within 15 working days of receiving a copy of the application if they have matters in opposition. If no report is received from the Police or Medical Officer of Health within that timeframe, the DLC may assume that the agencies do not oppose the application.
Agency reports should outline the agency’s position on the application and state the matters that they have in opposition. The agency’s position must be based on the relevant criteria set out in the Act: if the agency intends to oppose the application, they should detail the legal grounds for the position. Reports do not have to be comprehensive at this stage but must be sufficient for the applicant to understand the issues they must respond to at a hearing (and/or in negotiation with the inspector).
Failure to comply with these requirements will most likely be a breach of natural justice.
At any subsequent hearing, the reporting agencies will be confined to the matters raised in their reports filed in terms of (s 103(3)(b)) of the Act.
If there are objections to the application and the agencies have information that may assist the DLC in coming to a decision, the agencies should produce the information.
6. Consider any relevant case law
Case law may be introduced in reports by agencies but is more likely to be introduced in submissions at the start and end of the hearing. In making your decisions you will also have to consider relevant case law. You need to be familiar with the case law, understand how it is relevant to your role, and know how to apply it.
When you make a decision on matters that come before you, you should consider each case against the criteria set out in the Act. Case law precedents will provide guidance on how to consider each of the criteria in the particular context of your case.
You can determine your own hearings procedure
A DLC can regulate its own procedure, subject to the provisions of the Act and the regulations made under it (s 203(9)), and the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. Your procedure must follow the principles of natural justice and, in particular, must ensure that every eligible person is given an opportunity to be heard. You have an inquisitorial role. This means that you are actively involved in investigating and assessing the facts of the case. This differs from an adversarial role, where the court acts as an impartial referee between the parties. Your powers under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 allow you to require documents to be produced and to summon witnesses, for example.
DLCs are quasi-judicial decision-making bodies whose decisions are subject to appeal to ARLA or, next, to the courts. This means that DLCs should follow best practice and uphold the principles of natural justice. They should deal with all applications consistently and fairly, and give all parties a fair opportunity to present their case. This is particularly important when local members may know the majority of the applicants personally. DLCs should be able to make all parties to the hearing (including community objectors) feel comfortable and welcome while maintaining the appropriate level of formality and process. As a guide, DLCs hearings should operate in a similar way to ARLA hearings as both are commissions of inquiry.
As a DLC you can adapt your hearings according to what would be most appropriate for the particular application and community. For example, in a rural area, you could hold the hearing in the local hall rather than in the council offices, which might be some distance away. Hearings could also be held on marae, in suburban areas, or if appropriate in the relevant licensed premises (for example, if a remote rural community has nowhere else to hold the hearing and access to justice could be denied to the community if they were required to travel to attend). Council support staff should comply with any reasonable request from the DLC about where and when hearings are to be held. The council should not overrule the DLC on these issues.
Think about the people who will be coming to the hearing and how you might make them feel comfortable. This is particularly important for members of the community appearing as objectors who may not be familiar with judicial processes. For example, if you are working in a predominantly Māori community, it would be helpful for you to be familiar with basic te reo (language), pronunciation, and tikanga (customs). You can talk to your council about getting support for this.
If there are barriers to objectors attending the hearing, you could consider being more accommodating. For example, it is often hard for community members to attend hearings during work hours. If this is the case, you could consider meeting outside normal working hours. If community members are taking time off work to present an objection, you can request that the staff provide objectors with a specific timeslot to present their evidence. Or, on the day of the hearing the chair could ask parties whether they are happy with the objector presenting first. You are free to adjust your processes as long as you maintain fairness, good process and natural justice.
In general, hearings follow this format:
- Opening and introduction by the parties who wish to be heard and who have standing.
- The applicant presents their case/speaks to the application and calls any witnesses.
- Reporting agencies present/summarise their reports and call any witnesses.
- Objectors present their case and call any witnesses.
- Closing submissions are made by all parties who wish to be heard.
- The hearing concludes with either an oral decision being given (later followed up in writing) or a written decision being delivered at a later time (a ‘reserved decision’).
The roles of the DLC before, during and after hearings
The roles of the DLC before the hearing
Before the hearings the committee members should have:
- read the application, submissions and evidence from all parties, including agencies and objectors
- checked for and dealt with any conflicts of interest
- conducted a site visit where appropriate
- prepared a list of questions or issues to flag
- identified any administrative or procedural matters that need to be dealt with at the beginning of the hearing.
If the DLC requires more information, the chair can issue a minute to the parties outlining the request. By using minutes to get further information, you may be able to avoid a hearing and ensure a formal, recorded procedure is followed. For example, agencies may have points in opposition that, if addressed, would remove their opposition. The chair may issue a minute seeking feedback from the applicant on these points. If they can be resolved, a hearing may not be required. Any information received by the chair as a result of the minute should be provided to all the parties. Visit the toolbox for examples of minutes issued by DLC chairs.
The DLC may choose to hold a pre-hearing conference. This is an informal meeting to deal with administrative matters or resolve issues before the hearing. For example, you might hold a conference to discuss the status of objectors and whether they have a greater interest than the public at large. If you do hold a pre-hearing conference you must be very careful to avoid any pre-determination or sense that any of the parties have been forced into a particular position. It can be clearer and more transparent to seek additional information by way of a minute than holding a pre-hearing conference.
Each DLC can determine how it sets up the room for a hearing. Here are some suggestions for best practice:
- The room must be big enough and have sufficient seating.
- The DLC should be sitting separately from the parties and generally at the front of the hearing room.
- The witness box should be close to the DLC so the witnesses can hear and be heard.
- Consider where you seat the parties – for example, don’t sit the counsel for the applicant next to public objectors.
- The parties should not be sitting around a table together.
- If possible, provide microphones to assist the parties to hear clearly.
What will council staff do before the hearing?
The secretary should have:
- developed an agenda in consultation with the chair (visit the toolbox for an example of a hearing agenda)
- circulated a ‘Notice of Hearing’ informing the parties of the hearing date, time, place and any disclosure timeframes. The secretary must give a minimum of 10 working days’ notice of the hearing. Often 10 working days is too tight; consider 15 or 20 working days to allow the parties more time to prepare. Disclosure timeframes must be realistic and fair to all parties. Generally, the applicant would be required to file any further materials first and then the agencies and objectors would be given an opportunity to file any materials in response. Or, if timeframes apply to all parties or are simply an opportunity to file any further materials such as opening submissions, they should be as generous as possible. Generally require submissions to be filed five clear working days before the hearing. This gives the DLC and other parties time to consider the materials before the hearing
- identified how an electronic audio record of the hearing will be made and transcribed
- tested the recording equipment to ensure it is working
- identified whether any of the parties to the hearing require an interpreter and have advised you if interpreters are required
- ensured no other communication aids are required (e.g. hearing aid loops).
The secretary is responsible for communicating with the parties. The secretary will arrange translators if these have been requested by the parties.
The role of the chair during the hearing
The chair is responsible for running the hearing. This includes:
- creating and maintaining an environment with the appropriate level of formality
- making sure people are introduced
- identifying the applicant, reporting agencies and objectors
- being clear about the process – who will present first, who will follow, etc – and communicating this to those present
- following the format of examination in chief, then cross-examination, and finally re-examination
- ensuring other committee members have the opportunity to ask any questions
- ensuring all parties have the opportunity to give evidence if they wish to and to cross-examine
- adopting an inquisitorial approach to questioning – this means that you are actively involved in investigating and assessing the facts of the case, rather than acting as a referee between the parties. Questions should be open-ended and not directed towards any particular outcome
- making written notes of relevant points and/or oral statements
- calling an adjournment during the hearing if required
- considering whether any part of the hearing needs to be held in private
- considering when to issue a written (reserved) decision and when to deliver an oral decision (followed by a written one)
- ensuring that all parties treat each other with respect and follow the correct procedures. This includes managing inappropriate questions (and stopping these if necessary) or the production of evidence where the appropriate witness is not present.
The roles of the DLC during the hearing
During the hearing, all committee members are responsible for:
- asking questions for clarification
- taking comprehensive notes of any evidence that is not provided in written form
- ensuring they have all the information they need to make a decision before closing the hearing. (If the committee later finds that it needs more information, it must reconvene the hearing with all the parties.)
The roles of the DLC after the hearing
After the hearing, the committee is required to:
- deliberate in private, consider the evidence that has been presented, and decide whether you have sufficient information to make a decision
- provide a decision in writing that includes: the reasons for the decision; the reports received; and the views of those reports on the application
- give a copy of the decision to the applicant, any objectors, and the Police, inspector and Medical Officer of Health (in practice the secretary does this).
Guidelines for all members
As a DLC you must run a fair and open process and follow the principles of natural justice. This applies from the time you receive an application until your decision has been made and communicated to the applicant and the other parties. Here are some dos and don’ts that you should follow throughout the process:
- Do communicate with staff and the secretary of the DLC about process issues.
- Do talk with other DLC members about process issues, such as site visits.
- If you are a chair, do write minutes as required.
- If you are a chair, do remind members to read material and draft questions.
- Ensure all communication is formal and properly filed.
- Don’t communicate directly with the applicant, objectors, agencies or any other party – the secretary does this.
- Don’t talk to members about the case outside your deliberations except to ask about conflict of interest (deliberations mean the formal process of considering, discussing and deciding on a case in your role as the DLC).
- Don’t talk about the case with others outside of the DLC.
- If you are a chair, don’t send minutes directly to the parties – the secretary does this.
Disclosure and timelines for providing information
The need for disclosure
Any evidence prepared for the hearing should be disclosed before the hearing so the parties have an opportunity to prepare a response. While there is no legal requirement for this, it makes good sense and supports a ‘no surprises’ approach to hearings. If this opportunity is denied, parties may seek an adjournment. Make sure that you have removed any private details from the evidence before releasing it.
The decision of Challenge Enterprises ‘The Mix’ NZARLA PH 1107/2013 at paragraph  onwards gives ARLA’s guidelines on disclosure by the agencies. It also sets out the underlying principle of natural justice and how this underpins the hearing process.
For complex cases or when there is a lot of evidence, disclosure can be done in stages.
Disclosure rules for public objectors
It is good practice to disclose relevant information to public objectors who have said that they wish to speak at the hearing. Make sure that you have removed any private details from the evidence before releasing it.
Only those at the hearing would be entitled to receive copies of documents handed up during the course of the hearing.
Timeframes for disclosure
Timeframes for disclosure are not set in legislation. It is helpful if the timeframes can be set locally for each DLC or council. This could be as part of a wider hearings policy or protocol, or as directed by the DLC. The DLC will always have discretion to waive any such requirements or alter procedure as it thinks fit as long as principles of natural justice are followed.
The following timeframes could be adopted as a matter of best practice:
- All briefs of evidence and any other documentary material that the agencies seek to introduce into evidence must be disclosed to the applicant, the other reporting agencies and the secretary at least 10 working days before the scheduled hearing. This is a minimum; consider 15 or 20 working days to allow the parties more time to prepare.
- Closing submissions are generally made orally at the end of the hearing or the DLC might give the parties 5-10 working days, for example, to file and serve them. If exceptional circumstances exist, the committee may allow an extension of time to file. Material should be filed and served no later than five working days before any hearing.
Agency reports should adequately cover any matters intended to support their opposition to an application. Agency briefs of evidence should expand on the evidential basis of agency opposition. The brief should build upon arguments raised in the report. It should not introduce new grounds for opposition or new arguments under grounds that have not been previously identified.
However, it is possible that in preparing their reports the agencies may have overlooked grounds for opposition or arguments. It is also possible that grounds for opposition or arguments come to light or evolve only after their report has been filed. In such situations, committees do have discretion to allow them to advance those grounds or arguments via supplementary reports. These should be disclosed as soon as possible. The secretary should check with the parties to ensure that they have had enough time to consider the material.
The responsibility of the committee is to evaluate applications having regard to the criteria contained in the Act and the evidence produced on the day. If the points the agency wishes to make are essential to that, then the committee should permit them to be made. But, in the interests of natural justice, the committee may grant an adjournment of the hearing or postpone the commencement or continuation of the hearing so that the applicant has a proper opportunity to respond.
Site visits can provide important information for DLCs when they are considering applications.
Why would you make a site visit?
All committee members involved in hearing an application and making a decision should consider whether to undertake a site visit. A site visit helps the DLC become familiar with any issues around the site, including:
- any issues raised by objectors
- matters raised in any agency report
- any matters in contention
- the physical layout
- single alcohol areas if applicable
- the proximity of the premises to sensitive sites such as schools and churches
- the general locality of the premises.
It will also help the DLC to consider any recommended conditions from the reports submitted if the application is approved.
When should you carry out a site visit?
You can carry out a site visit at any time: before, during or even after a hearing. However, site visits are generally carried out before a hearing.
The timing of the site visit will depend on the application and the matters that may be raised in relation to the site. For example, if there is concern about the effect on a nearby school, then a site visit at 3pm may be useful. If a report addresses concern about a renewal application for an on-licence in relation to amenity at 2am, then this may be the best time for a visit.
Arranging a site visit
Site visits need to be thought about carefully. When and how they happen, and who is involved, may differ depending on the circumstances of the application. The purpose of a site visit is for members to learn about the site, not to gather evidence or communicate with the applicant or parties.
Site visits can be undertaken by the committee as a group or by members individually. If the DLC goes as a group you must not discuss the case among yourselves. You must not communicate directly with the applicant. If you need to communicate with the applicant, this should happen through the secretary. If you have invited anyone other than the DLC members to attend a site visit (such as the applicant or the inspector) then you must invite all parties to attend.
Site visits can be pre-arranged or spontaneous. You might have a pre-arranged site visit to look at a single alcohol area. If a site visit is pre-arranged it should be arranged by the secretary. You might have a spontaneous visit to an on-licence on a Friday night so that you can observe staff and patrons. You do not have to identify yourself to the manager or staff of the premises and you should not communicate with the manager or staff. Remember that you are only there to look at the premises and learn about the site. If you do detect offences or bad practice during your site inspection, these cannot be introduced as evidence by the committee members into the hearing process.
You need to stay safe – don’t undertake a site visit if you feel you may be subject to any physical safety issues.
What should you look for during a site visit?
The reports from the agencies and public objections should identify issues that need to be addressed in the hearing. You should consider those matters in relation to the site and its surrounding environment, taking into account the relevant criteria under the Act.
For example, issues may be raised in relation to:
- the design and layout of any proposed premises
- whether granting the application would reduce the amenity and good order of the locality to more than a minor extent
- whether the amenity and good order of the locality are already so badly affected by existing licences that they would not be reduced further (or by only a minor extent).
Key things to look for during your site visit include:
- safety and security
- good lighting
- the location of, and access to, toilets
- the view of the entrance and exit from the bar
- any overcrowding
- the presence of the duty manager(s)
- the amenity and good order of the surrounding environment.
You might find it helpful to read Guidelines for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) for Licensed Premises, developed by the Health Promotion Agency to establish and maintain a safe and secure environment in all licensed premises.
You must maintain your independence during a site visit
You must not engage with any of the parties to the hearing during your visit (this includes the applicant, objectors, Police, inspector, or Medical Officer of Health). This is important because you must not be influenced by those parties during a visit. You must not appear to have a relationship with any of the parties where your impartiality would be compromised (or could be seen to be compromised).
Adjournment prior to a hearing
Any of the parties can seek an adjournment prior to a hearing if there are valid reasons, such as a lack of disclosure or unavailability of key witnesses.
A request for an adjournment must be made in writing to the secretary and the DLC must issue a minute in response, either granting the adjournment or refusing to do so with reasons. The minute will usually be written by the chair and issued by the secretary.
Dealing with objections
The number of public objections to an application can vary from none to hundreds, or even thousands. If there are concerns about an objector’s standing or the objection is filed late, you will need to consider the situation and decide whether a preliminary hearing by way of a minute or teleconference is required.
Objectors must have a greater interest than the public generally
Someone can object to the granting of a new licence or licence renewal if they have a ‘greater interest’ in the application than the public generally.
A person with a ‘greater interest’ could, for example, be someone living or working in the same street as the proposed premises, a member of a board of trustees of a school or marae that is located nearby, or someone who has children at a school near the premises.
If a member of the public is concerned about the general effects of alcohol in the community but does not have a special interest in the application, it is likely that they do not have a ‘greater interest’ than the public generally.
Other licensees may have a special interest in the application and object to the licence. However, any concerns about the economic impact of the licence application on their business cannot be taken into account by the DLC.
Your local alcohol policy may have specific requirements regarding sensitive sites.
It is up to the DLC to determine who is a valid objector based on the information that the objector provides. It is up to each objector to prove that they have an interest greater than the public generally.
Best practice guidance: communicating with objectors
The DLC only communicates with public objectors via a minute, or at a pre-hearing conference.
The secretary of the DLC is responsible for contacting the objectors and advising them of the hearing. This may differ depending on the type of objections received. For example, the application might receive 126 individual objections, 1 petition with 265 signatures and 130 pro forma letters. Each objector who has provided a name and address needs to be advised of the hearing; each of the 126 individual submitters will need to be informed of the hearing; and each of the pro forma submitters who provided a name and address will need to be informed. For a petition, the hearing information could be provided to the organiser of the petition (who should have their name and address on the petition).
The ‘parties’ to a hearing
The parties to a hearing are the applicant, the Police, the licensing inspector, the Medical Officer of Health or their delegate, and any valid objectors (a valid objector must have a ‘greater interest’ in the application than the public generally).
Certain other persons may appear and be heard with the leave of the DLC’s chair, whether personally or by counsel. These are:
- a member of the fire service authorised to undertake fire safety inspections
- a person authorised by any territorial authority
- any other person who satisfies the DLC that he or she has an interest in the proceedings, apart from any interest in common with the public.
Ensuring fairness to all parties
A key role of the DLC is to ensure fairness to all parties. You may need to take into account differences in the parties’ experience and support when managing the hearing. For example, some parties may be represented by legal counsel, while others will not. Some parties may have had very little or no experience in speaking at a hearing or in front of commissioners. Part of your role is to make the hearing environment comfortable for those parties so that they can participate fully in the hearing.
Some parties may find it difficult to attend the hearings at the times scheduled. This is sometimes the case for public objectors who have work or other commitments during weekdays when hearings are usually held. In your notice of hearing you could ask the parties to contact the secretary if there are any barriers that make it difficult for them to attend at the time, date and venue specified. If there are barriers, consider being more flexible. For example, you could consider meeting outside normal working hours – in afternoons until early evening (from 1pm to 7pm) or in the weekend. While hearings are usually held at council offices, you could hold the hearing near the premises so that it is easier for objectors living locally to attend. You could also consider the use of technology – such as phone or video conferencing – to facilitate community participation.
If you think you need more information on a particular point, you can request this.
Agencies can facilitate community involvement in hearings
Changes to the Act were intended to facilitate community participation in licensing decisions. Agencies can take a role in facilitating community involvement, but they must be careful not to show, or be seen to show, bias towards the community.
The Act only requires councils to ensure that applicants have correctly notified licence applications to the public. However, councils can do more to facilitate community involvement in the licensing process and could consider:
- making information about the licensing process easy to access, for example, by providing web links to information available on this website, such as the guide to objecting to an alcohol licence
- making licence applications easy to access on council websites
- having the council’s community advisory team provide information to public objectors about how hearings work and the importance of ensuring decision makers hear directly from community members.
- having the advisory team provide feedback or requests from the community about the process to the secretary of the DLC. For example, there could be requests for the hearing to be held outside of working hours so community members can attend.
Health promoters can also encourage community involvement in hearings by providing information to public objectors about how hearings work and the importance of ensuring decision makers hear directly from community members. They can assist objectors to write their submission and clarify the issues that need to be put before the committee. They can help objectors formulate the questions that they should put to the applicant when they get the opportunity to cross-examine them. Health promoters can also gather evidence from the community for the Medical Officer of Health to present regarding amenity and good order. The Medical Officer of Health can call health promoters as witnesses.
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.