Alcohol Licensing & Local Alcohol Policies

In 1989, new liquor laws opened the door to widespread increases in the availability of alcohol across New Zealand.

By the end of 1999, beer and wine were available in supermarkets, Sunday trading was permitted, and the legal purchase age was reduced to 18 years. In the following years, New Zealanders would witness a doubling in the number of alcohol outlets across the country.

In 2010, the liquor laws were reviewed by the New Zealand Law Commission. Communities responded to the review by sending a strong message that the pendulum had swung too far; too much alcohol harm was being caused.

Together with agencies working to reduce harm, calls were made that New Zealand had become too saturated with alcohol, the laws were too relaxed, and communities were experiencing high levels of harm. They wanted the laws to be changed to be more restrictive, where licences should be harder to get and easier to lose.

In 2012, new alcohol legislation was introduced (The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012). One of the objectives of the new legislation was to increase community input into licensing decisions.

Communities could:

1) have a say on individual licence applications which would be determined more locally (through District Licensing Committees)

2) have input into the development of their Counci's Local Alcohol Policy.

This aim of this section is to enable you and your community to participate in processes regarding liquor licensing.

Action may be related to a licence application for a particular outlet or premises in your neighbourhood and/or in relation to having your say about your council’s Local Alcohol Policy.

Both these processes are not without their challenges, so information, tip and tools are provided to you to assist you in engaging with this legislation.

Object to a liquor licence application

Many communities across the country are actively involved in objecting to liquor licence applications. Reducing the density of outlets and problems associated with licensed premises can greatly improve your local surroundings and reduce alcohol-related harm.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Make a complaint about a licensed premises

Holding a liquor licence is a privilege and not a right. It is important the licence holders and licensed premises comply with the law and conditions on their licence.

This section describes the importance of this area of action and guides you through the process of making a complaint about a local licensed premises. For information on taking action on single areas within supermarkets, please click here.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Have a say on a Local Alcohol Policy

Our 2012 liquor laws gave each of the 67 local Councils in New Zealand the ability to develop a Local Alcohol Policy. 

They are not mandatory; many Councils have not yet progressed to developing a policy. These policies can specify the location, density and trading hours of premises, as well as the types of discretionary conditions which can added to a licence.

Local Alcohol Policies are a significant opportunity to reduce alcohol-related harm in your community.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

 

References

References

[1] Chikritzhs, T., Stockwell, T. (2002). The Impact of Later Trading Hours for Australian Public Houses (Hotels) on Levels of Violence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Vol 63(5),591-9.

[2] Casswell, S., Huckle, T., Wall, M., & Yeh, L.-C. (2014). International Alcohol Control study: pricing data and hours of purchase predict heavier drinking. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(5):1425-31.

[3] Kypri, K., Jones, C., McElduff, P., & Barker, D. (2011). Effects of restricting pub closing times on night‐time assaults in an Australian city. Addiction, 106(2), 303-310.

[4] Pasch, K. E., Komro, K. A., Perry, C. L., Hearst, M. O., & Farbakhsh, K. (2007). Outdoor alcohol advertising near schools: what does it advertise and how is it related to intentions and use of alcohol among young adolescents?. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68(4), 587-596.

[5] Ellickson, P. L., Collins, R. L., Hambarsoomians, K., & McCaffrey, D. F. (2005). Does alcohol advertising promote adolescent drinking? Results from a longitudinal assessment. Addiction, 100(2), 235-246.

[6] Casswell, S., Huckle, T., Wall, M., & Yeh, L.-C. (2014). International Alcohol Control study: pricing data and hours of purchase predict heavier drinking. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(5):1425-31.

[7] Law Commission. (2010). Alcohol in our Lives: Curbing the Harm: A report on the review of the regulatory framework for the sale and supply of liquor. Wellington: Law Commission.

[8] Pearce, J., Day, P., & Witten, K. (2008). Neighbourhood provision of food and alcohol retailing and social deprivation in urban New Zealand. Urban Policy and Research, 26(2), 213-227.

[9] Ayuka, F., Barnett, R., & Pearce, J. (2014). Neighbourhood availability of alcohol outlets and hazardous alcohol consumption in New Zealand. Health & place, 29, 186-199.

[10] Miller, P et al. (2012). Dealing with Alcohol and the Night Time Economy (DANTE). Final report. National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund: Australia. AND Miller, P et al. (2013). Patron Offending and Intoxication in Night-Time Entertainment Districts (POINTED). Final report. National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund: Australia.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Parker RN1, McCaffree KJ, Skiles D.. The impact of retail practices on violence: the case of single serve alcohol beverage containers. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2011 Sep;30(5):496-504. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00318.x.

[13] Masho, S. W., Bishop, D. L., Edmonds, T., & Farrell, A. D. (2014). Using Surveillance Data to Inform Community Action: The Effect of Alcohol Sale Restrictions on Intentional Injury-related Ambulance Pickups. Prevention Science, 15(1), 22–30. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-013-0373-y

[14] Law Commission (2010). Alcohol in our lives: Curbing the Harm. A report on the review of the regulatory framework for the sale and supply of liquor. Wellington: New Zealand.

[15] NZ Police (2009). Policing Fact Sheet: Licensed premises trading hours. Prepared by: Organisational Performance Group, Police National Headquarters: Wellington.