Apply for a special licence

If you want to sell alcohol at a one-off event or series of events, you need a special licence.

When to apply

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.   Applications must be made at least 20 working days before the day of the event.  

Apply for a special licence when: 

  • An event is being held in a place that is not licensed e.g. a park or community hall

  • The event will run outside a 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:

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

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

Where an application is file less than 20 working days prior to the day of the event, the District Licensing Committee may consider the application if satisfied that the need for a special licence could not have been reasonably foreseen earlier (e.g. a funeral).

Apply early  for December / January events 

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 has a non-working day period from December 20th – January 15th each year (inclusive).     If you're an planning event over summer we recommend getting your licence application in early to avoid disappointment. 

Application Process - what to expect

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.

  • 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 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.  

Need help?

Contact the alcohol licensing inspector to discuss anything about the sale of alcohol:

Phone 03 441 0499 (Queenstown) or 03 443 0024 (Wanaka).

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