Alcohol Licences

On this page:  Process | Kinds of Licence | Amenity and Good Order | Alcohol Licence Fee Calculator


Welcome to Alcohol licensing. On the 18th December 2013, the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 came in to force. This includes a number of changes (from the Sale of Liquor Act 1989), which are described in the following licensing pages.

There are four types of alcohol licence available (new and renewal), which depends on what you are looking to do. These are:

  • On-licence
  • Off-licence
  • Club-licence
  • Special Licence

Information on Application Fees

Contact the Alcohol Licensing Inspector to discuss anything relating to the sale of alcohol , phone 03 441 0499 (Queenstown) or 03 443 0024 (Wanaka).


The process for each application is generally:

  • Submit a completed application to the District Licensing Committee (at Council). You must ensure your application is complete, using the check sheet.
  • Publicly notify your application in the Otago Daily Times within 20 working days after lodging your application using forms 7 and 8 as applicable.
  • Display a notice in a conspicuous place on or adjacent to the site the application refers to.
  • The District Licensing Committee (DLC) Secretary will forward a copy of your application to the Police, Medical Officer of Health and Alcohol Inspector, who are required under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act to inquire into the application.
  • If the Police or Medical Officer of Health has any matters in opposition to the application, they must file a report on it within 15 working days. Copies of their reports will be sent to you.
  • The alcohol inspector will provide a report to the DLC, on the application regarding the agencies and the application in general i.e. an assessment against the application criteria.
  • A person with a greater interest in the application than the public generally may object to your application within 15 working days of the first publication of the public notice. If any are received, these will be forwarded to you.
  • The DLC will determine the application whether there are no objections (on the papers) or ;
  • If the Police or Medical Officer of Health raise matters in opposition to your application the DLC may choose to determine the application on the papers or refer this to a public hearing.  If objections are received from a person with a greater interest than the general public, this would also be via a public hearing.

Kinds of Licence


For bars (tavern), restaurants and cafes, BYO restaurants and on-caterers i.e. anywhere that sells alcohol to be consumed on the premises.

All on-licences need to have substantial food available on the premises at all times when alcohol is for sale.

The National maximum trading hours are 8.00am until 4.00am the following day

Whilst Queenstown Lakes District does not currently have a local alcohol policy (which we are currently researching to determine the need and benefits of such a policy), the Act allows a DLC to apply more restrictive hours where applicable e.g. 8.00 am to 2.30am the following day for Wanaka licences or restaurants across the district trading until 1.30am following previous consultations for policies.


For bottles stores, on-line stores, supermarkets selling alcohol and cellar doors, this type of licence is where alcohol is sold with the intention that it is taken away to be consumed off the premises.

The National maximum trading hours are 7.00am until 11.00pm.

Club Licence

This is for any club that is registered as an incorporated society and can only sell and supply alcohol to members and their guests.

Special Licence

This is needed where:

  • An event is being held in a place that is not licensed e.g. a park or community hall
  • The event will run outside the licensed premises current hours or conditions – but cannot be for an extension of licensing hours i.e. it must be an event.

There are two types of special licence:

a) On-site special licences (for consumption of alcohol on premises)

b) Off-site special licences (for consumption of alcohol away from the premises)

Anyone can apply for a special licence, but must demonstrate that an event is taking place, and it will be managed in a responsible way.

All applications must be made at least 20 working days prior to the event.

Where an application is filed with less than 20 working days prior to the event, the District Licensing Committee may consider the application (or not). If the DLC is satisfied that the need for a special licence could not have been reasonably foreseen earlier (e.g. a funeral) they may accept an application made less than 20 working days in advance of the event.

Please note: Special licences need to be submitted at least 20 working days prior to the event. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 has a non-working day period from December 20th – January 15th each year.

→   View Event Management Plan and Alcohol Management Plan Templates

Amenity and Good Order

All licence applications (including Special Licences) must demonstrate how the amenity and good order of the locality would not be reduced by ‘more than minor’ if the licence was granted.

This includes aspects like:

  • Current noise or possible future noise levels;
  • Current or possible nuisance and vandalism;
  • Rubbish in an area caused by the premises
  • Location to sensitive sites such as churches, educational facilities etc

The DLC must in considering an application, also have regard to:

  • The number of premises for which licences of the kind applied for are already held;
  • The purpose for which land near the premises concerned are used;
  • The purpose for which those premises will be used if the licence is issued

Application Fee Matrix

Online Alcohol Licence Fee Calculator

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (fees) Regulations 2013 specify the default fees for all applications.

Whilst some fees are fixed:

  • Managers Certificate (new or renewal) $316.25
  • Temporary Authority $296.70

Most fees are dependent on risk criteria, from the size of an event (special licence) to the type of licence and hours of trade.

The matrix below enables you to determine the approximate fees (application and annual) depending on the type of premises, your hours of operation and whether there have been any enforcement activities against you in the last 18 months e.g. a suspension application.

Also depending on the size of your event for a special licence, this will determine the cost of your application:

Special licence class Issued in respect of
Class 1 1 large event:
more than 3 medium events:
more than 12 small events
Class 2 3 to 12 small events:
1 to 3 medium events
Class 3 1 or 2 small events


Large event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of more than 400 people

Medium event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of between 100 and 400 people

Small event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of fewer than 100 people.


Please note large events require an Event Management Plan to be submitted with an application.

This link below provides a useful resource of guidelines for managing alcohol at large events: