Conditions licensed premises must comply with

Licensees have a range of responsibilities. These vary depending on the licence type and any particular conditions on the licence.

Th​ere are some key conditions for licensed premises, they must:

  • Have a manager on duty (on-licences and off-licences and sometimes for clubs if it is a condition of their licence)
  • Operate within their permitted trading hours
  • Display required signage
  • Refuse entry and/or service to minors (<18 years) or intoxicated persons. For information on supply of alcohol to young people, click here.
  • Have a range of food items available (if they have an on-licence or club licence)
  • Provide information on safe transport options
  • (in the case of supermarkets and grocery outlets) display alcohol in a single area and not promote it outside of this. Click here to read more.
  • Not promote alcohol irresponsibly
  • Comply with their responsibilities regarding the Smoke-free Environments Act; and comply with responsibilities regarding gaming machines (if they have any).

Note:  A licensed premises MUST NOT:

  • Sell or supply alcohol to an intoxicated person
  • Allow a person to become intoxicated on their premises
  • Allow a person who is intoxicated to remain in the licensed premises

Your local council also has the powers to control excessive noise, and also takes care of many local amenities, refuse collection, and cleaning of public spaces. If any of these need attention they will be pleased to hear from you. Further information on the specific conditions for on-licences, off-licences club licences and special licences can be found by clicking on the links.

Penalties for not complying with the law

If a licensee or duty manager is found to be in breach of licence conditions they are subject to a range of penalties. These range from fines, licence suspensions or cancellation. For more details on penalites, click here.

Regulatory agencies often test compliance with the law

From time to time, a Council Licensing Inspector or representative from the police and health authorities may visit licensed premises in your community to conduct a compliance check. They will test to see if premises are meeting the conditions of their licence and the provisions of the Act.

On occasion, other inspectors may also visit. This includes:

  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Fire Service staff 
  • Dangerous Goods Inspector
  • WorkSafe Inspector
  • Smokefree Enforcement Officer
  • Gaming Compliance Inspector (Department of Internal Affairs)
  • Building Safety Officer

Māori Wardens also have specific powers constituted under the Māori Community Development Act 1962 to limit unruly behaviour on licensed premises. Section 31 of the Act states that a “Māori Warden may at any reasonable time enter any licensed premises in any area where he is authorised to carry out his duties and warn the licensee or any servant of the licensee to abstain from selling or supplying liquor to any Māori who in the opinion of the Warden is in a state of intoxication, or is violent, quarrelsome, or disorderly, or is likely to become so, whether intoxicated or not”.