Alcohol regulations

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 came into effect in December, 2013. It introduced changes to:

Public notification of local alcohol policies

Public notification, with respect to both provisional and adopted local alcohol policies, will mean giving notice in one or more newspapers and a prominent location on the territorial authority's (TA) website. This public notification of provisional local alcohol policies should be made on at one occasion and  for adopted local alcohol policies on two separate occasions.

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Notification of licence applications (new and renewal)

Public notifications of any application for or renewal of an alcohol licence are to be either in a newspaper or on a website page established by TAs, or both.

The number of public notifications required will be linked to the licensee risk framework (included as Appendix D in the Summary of Submissions). Low and very low risk premises will make two notifications for a new licence, but only one notification of any licence renewal application. All other premises will need to notify twice, between five and 10 days apart, for both new and renewal applications.

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Licensee obligations to record specified information about their managers

Appendix D of this document to find out the information required to be held by licensees about their managers [PDF, 300 KB]

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Prerequisite to obtaining a manager's certificate

Knowledge of the Act is required for the renewal of a manager's certificates. Managers who already hold a Licence Controller Qualifications will need to take a short test about the new laws which will be developed by the relevant industry training organisation.

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Evidence of age documents

No changes are proposed to the current suite of evidence of age documents. Young people can apply for an 18+ Card in the month leading up to their 18th birthday.

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Fees associated with infringement offences

Fees for infringement offences on page 12 of the Summary of Submissions [PDF, 591 KB]

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Remote (internet & telephone) sales

Remote sellers can require purchasers to declare at least twice that they (or the intended recipient) are over the purchase age either through tick boxes, or entering their birth date, (for internet and catalogue sales) or verbally (for telephone orders).

The Ministry of Justice will review this in 2 years when a more detailed assessment can be made of the harm caused by remote sales and how technological solutions could be used to verify a purchaser's age.

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Licensing & Community Trusts

The privileges of licensing trusts can be challenged using a competition poll which is a referendum that the licensing trust must call if requested by at least 15 percent of the electors in the district.

A petition on a competition poll will need to be submitted directly to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority for administration. At the same time:

  • a notice of the petition must be submitted to the affected trust as soon as practicable
  • a copy of the petition must be provided to the affected trust as soon as the validity of the petition has been established.

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Grocery store

Defining grocery stores in such a way as to be sure that the 'principal business' of a grocery store is the sale of food products.

Principal business

  • Food products must be, proportionally, the largest single category of a premises' gross sales revenue (excluding GST). The categories are:
  • food products (as defined in the Act)
  • household items
  • alcohol
  • tobacco
  • convenience foods: being confectionary, 'ready-to-eat prepared food', 'snack food', or a drink (other than milk) sold in a container with a capacity of one litre or less.

Revenue from New Zealand lotteries promoted by the New Zealand Lotteries Commission (for example, LOTTO and Instant Kiwi) is excluded.

'Ready-to-eat' and 'snack foods'

Definitions outlining 'ready-to-eat' and 'snack' foods can be viewed in Appendix C of the Summary of Submissions [PDF, 591 KB]

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Evidence for assessment of principal business

On application for a licence, the applicant must submit average sales revenue data for a period of one year (depending on how long the business has been operating) or a projection of future revenue (for new premises).

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Forms required for the licensing system

Territorial authorities must update their alcohol licensing forms to reflect regulations related to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The main change to most forms is updating the name of the Act. However, forms for new licences and renewals applications must also include new criteria and questions that outline key information applicants need to provide (for example a floor plan of the premises). Councils can use these templates to create new alcohol licensing forms.


People applying for a licence or managers certificate should not use these templates. Instead, please contact your local council to obtain the correct forms.

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