Role of local councils

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, local government authorities have a range of powers and responsibilities. The people and bodies involved in carrying out these roles include:

District licensing committees (DLCs)

Every territorial authority must have one or more district licensing committees (DLCs) to make decisions on all licences and managers certificates.  A DLC can't delegate its decision-making role. DLCs are responsible for considering:

  • all licence applications and renewals, regardless of whether they are  contested or uncontested
  • all managers certificate applications and renewals, regardless of whether they are contested or uncontested
  • enforcement applications relating to  licence suspensions for non-compliance with public health or fire precaution requirements.

A DLC must be made up of:

  • a chairperson who is an elected member of the territorial authority, or a commissioner appointed to the DLC by the territorial authority
  • 2 committee members.

The 2 committee members are selected from a list of potential DLC members. This list can be shared with other territorial authorities. In relation to the Auckland Council, an elected member includes members of the Council’s governing body (as defined in section 4 of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009) and its local boards (as established under section 10 of that Act).

Licensing Inspectors

Licensing inspectors can issue infringement notices for some licensing offences.  Also, when preparing a report on an application, licensing inspectors can access information on current and past licensees and managers held centrally by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA). The information helps to determine whether an applicant is a suitable person to hold, or continue to hold, a licence or a manager's certificate.

Territorial authority chief executives

Under the Act, each territorial authority’s chief executive:

  • is the secretary of the District Licensing Committee (DLC) (or may delegate the role)
  • is responsible for appointing licensing inspector(s) and ensuring they can exercise their role independently
  • may appoint an alcohol licensing commissioner to a DLC, if requested to do so by the territorial authority.

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