Make sure you thoroughly read the What you need to know section; this process can be complex in your first go! 

Find out about the licence application

Keep alerted to licence applications in your community. Some Councils have an online system whereby you can register to stay alerted - eg. Auckland applications, whilst others may place current applications on their website, e.g. Dunedin, Hastings, Wellington. Also keep a look out on the windows of local shops and premises.

Know the date of the first public notice of the application - write the final date of the 15 working day deadline for objections into your calendar!!

Gather your evidence

Think about all of the evidence you can use to support your objection. Remember that you can only object in relation to the criteria in the Act.

Remember - you do not have to collect all of the evidence in the 15-working day deadline for objections. You can ask to present additional evidence at the hearing. But make sure you provide some detail as to why the application does not meet the criteria in the Act.

This list may help you consider amenity and good order effects, but you could think of other examples:

  • Crime
    • Breaking and entering
    • Serious fights/assault/threat of assault
    • Other incidents requiring police intervention
  • Damage or vandalism to private or public property
    • broken window/door of local shop
    • vandalism to cars, fences
    • breaking into cars at Retirement Village
    • fires (to hedge, to rubbish bins)
    • gardens pulled out
    • street signs pulled up/thrown onto property
  • Disorderly behaviour
    • Less serious fights
    • Public urination, defecation
    • Vomiting on footpath, street, private property
    • Aggression and intimidation
    • Intoxicated patrons admitted to bars
    • Self-reported intoxication by patrons
    • Breaches of Alcohol Ban in area
    • Pre-/side-loading in immediate area
    • Party buses bringing intoxicated patrons to area

It is useful if you always document any alcohol-related incidents in your community. You can use this incident log to help you.

Click here  for an incident log

To assist you filling an incident log, here is an example 

Look to involve others in your objection

Talk to others in your community who may share your concerns or be affected by the issue of the licence. Meet to talk about the application. Remember, they don't have to write their own objection - you could do a community objection in the form of a petition. See below.

Think about involving school principals, church ministers, local businesses, etc. It doesn't just have to be residents.

Write your objection letter or petition

Feel free to use the template for an objection letter. Examples of objection letters for on-licences and off-licences are also included.

Remember - you don't need to have all your information and evidence prepared within the 15 day deadline - you just need to outline your concerns in relation to the criteria in the Act. You can collect extra evidence to back up your objection before the hearing takes place.

Template of an objection letter

Example of an objection letter for an on-licence

Example of an objection letter for an off-licence

Here are some tips:

Consider each of the criteria and aim to align your evidence to demonstrate the impact the licence will have on you/your community

Make sure you are clear about what you want  – i.e. do you want the licence to be refused altogether?  Or would you be OK with the licence if certain conditions were in place (e.g. earlier closing time, noise controls)? Whatever the case, have some ideas about any special conditions you believe would be appropriate.

If you plan on collecting signatures in the form of a community petition, feel free to use this template:

Template for community petitio

Circulate the template to others

Distribute the template to others in the community (those who live or work close to the premises).

Encourage others to complete the objection letter and send to the Council. Or start to gather names, addresses and signatures on the community petition.

It may be useful to find out if the three reporting agencies (Council, Police and Health Authorities) plan to oppose the application.

Make sure all parties are fully aware of what they are doing and the consequences; including when the objection needs to be lodged and that they may be required to attend a hearin

Send your objection to the licensing team at your local council

Submit your objection to your local licensing team before the 15 working day deadline. The public notification will include the address of where to send it to and when it needs to be submitted.

For assistance, contact the regulatory agencies in your area.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your objection fairly promptly. If you don’t it might be worth contacting the licensing team or secretary of the DLC and checking.

Keep gathering evidence as you can - you can ask to present this additional evidence at the hearing.

The applicant may ask to meet with the objectors to resolve issues

It is not uncommon for the applicant to seek to talk to the objectors to see if any perceived issues can be resolved. Remember that they have your contact details and the reasons for your objection.

It is up to you whether you meet the applicant. Do not feel coerced into doing so. Some communities have had successes with meeting applicants and issues have been resolved without a hearing taking place.

Attend the hearing (if required)

Prepare for the hearing

  • Summarise any further evidence that you have gathered since submitting your objection.
  • Meet with other objectors or at least discuss the upcoming hearing with them. Identify any gaps, inconsistencies and how these might be addressed.
  • Prepare a short summary of your key points and practice it.

You don’t need to memorise it, but practicing it will help you be more relaxed and confident.

You don’t have to speak at the hearing, however your impact will be much greater if you do.

You might be cross-examined so put yourself in the shoes of the applicant and think about any possible questions that might arise. Prepare some possible responses to these.

If you need to, arrange time off work and/or care for your children.

Arrange any witnesses and/or support people you might need. Think about noise specialists, etc.

If you are appearing on behalf of a group make sure everyone knows about the hearing, and allocate them a role if appropriate.

You might consider getting legal support.  While there is usually a cost for this you might be able to get assistance. Insert information when available.

If you are approached by or informing the media regarding the objection/hearing extra care is needed as this is a legal process. For more information and advice  click here.

At the hearing

Be on time.

Introduce yourself to Council staff when you arrive.

Follow the direction of the DLC/ARLA chair and respect the authority of the Committee or Authority.

After the hearing

  • You will be advised of the decision and if you are not happy with this you have the right to appeal it. The information about how to do this and when should be included in the correspondence with the decision.

For more information on the Hearing Process click here