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The sale or supply of liquor to the public requires a licence under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. The Tauranga District Licensing Committee issues liquor licences on behalf of the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority. There are four types of licence:

  • You need an on-licence if you plan to sell or supply alcohol in a bar, restaurant, hotels, taverns, night clubs, or BYO premises, caterers. 
     
  • You need an off-licence if you plan to sell alcohol but not serve it, either in a liquor or wine shop, supermarket or grocery store, through internet distribution,  or auctioneer. 
     
  • You need a club licence if you plan to sell or supply alcohol through an incorporated club, like a sports club, social club, or regular office drinks. 
     
  • You need a special licence for instances where you don’t need a licence long-term, ie a special event like a wedding or birthday.

A liquor licence is specific to the licensee and the premises.  If the licensee moves their business to other premises they must apply for a new licence for the new premises.  Alternatively, if the owner of the business changes, a new licence needs to be applied for by the new owner(s).

A person holding a manager's certificate must be on duty at all times liquor is being sold or supplied on licensed premises. The manager is responsible for compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and the conditions of the licence.

How long does it take to process a liquor licence?

Straightforward applications take approximately four to six weeks to process. There is also a minimum of 20 working days involved in obtaining approvals relating to Resource Management and Building Code processes.

How long do they last?

On-licences, off-licences, club licences, and manager's certificates are usually issued for one year and then renewed every three years thereafter.

How do I get a manager’s certificate?

See manager’s certificate page.

I’ve just bought a bar but I don’t have my liquor licence yet. Can I still open for business?

If you are a new owner of an existing licensed premise and you want to continue the sale and or supply of liquor until your own licence is issued you will need a temporary authority.   A temporary authority can only be applied for if the previous owner's licence remains current.

It can take up to 20 working days to process a temporary authority so keep this in mind when determining a settlement date.

When do I need to demonstrate compliance with the Resource Management Act (RMA) and Building Code?

You must have a certificate pursuant to sections of The Sale and Supply Alcohol Act 100(f) for On Licences, for Off Licences and for Club Licences,  which “gives a clear description of the business in identical terms to the description on the application, that the proposed use of the premise meets the requirements of the RMA, and whether it is a new building or an existing building with or without a change of use and that the building used for the proposed use meets the requirements of the building code”.

This certificate proves that your activity fully complies with the Resource Management Act and District/City Plan.  It also proves that you have had signoff for your activity under the Building Act and Building Code. Compliance with the RMA and Building Code must be demonstrated/approved before you apply for a liquor licence.

Can I apply for a liquor licence for a bus or a boat?

The requirements for liquor licences relating to conveyances such as buses and boats differ slightly. Please refer to the District Licensing Agency for more information.

Further information


Last Reviewed: 19/12/2013