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Processing your licence application

The following steps are a general guide to help you with the initial stages of your application for an alcohol licence.

Step 1 – work out what kind of licence you need

Determine the style of licence most appropriate for your business activity and download the relevant application form. 

Alcohol licences

  • You need an on-licence if you plan to sell or supply alcohol in a bar, restaurant, hotels, taverns, night clubs, conveyance (bus or boat), or BYO restaurant, caterer.
  • You need an off-licence if you plan to sell alcohol but not serve it, either in an alcohol 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, i.e. a special event like a wedding or birthday at a venue or on a conveyance.

Step 2 – who is the applicant?

The application must be made in the name of the person or legal entity that receives the proceeds. This could be an individual, company, or partnership.

Step 3 - compliance

Demonstrate compliance with the Resource Management Act (RMA) and Building Code to obtain a Sale and Supply of Alcohol Certificate.  

RMA and building compliance

Step 4 – submit your application

Once you have obtained your Sale and Supply of Alcohol Certificate you can apply for your alcohol licence. Processing straightforward licence applications takes between four and six weeks. More complex applications may take longer.

The alcohol licence application forms lists all the documentation you need to file with your application. You may wish to complete the alcohol licence application and obtain all the required documentation while waiting for your certificate of compliance to be issued. Incomplete alcohol licence applications will not be accepted.

On, off and club licence and special licence

Step 5 – the District Licensing Committee’s role

When an application for an on-licence, off-licence or club-licence it’s forwarded to the Police, the Medical Officer of Health and the Alcohol Licensing Inspector for review. They make recommendations to the District Licensing Committee to consider when making a decision.

Step 6 - publicly notify your application

You’re required to publicly notify your application for an on-licence, off-licence or club-licence. This can be done in the Bay of Plenty Times or Weekend Sun newspapers or online through Council’s website. Fees for advertising on our website can be found here Public Notice Fee.

If advertised in the newspaper you may need to publicly notify once or twice, depending on your risk category. Please contact newspapers directly for their advertising costs. You will also need to provide the Tauranga District Licensing Committee an original copy of the public notice(s) from the newspaper.

The general public have 15 working days from the date of the first notice to lodge an objection.

You will receive a copy of the public notice (yellow copy) from the Alcohol Licencing Team, this must be displayed on the premises, in a place, (whether inside or outside the premises) where it can conveniently be read by a person outside the premises. The public notice must be displayed for at least 10 days after a copy was first published. If placing this notice outside, you will need to get it laminated to ensure it does not get damaged.

If an objection is received, or one of the reporting bodies opposes all or part of your application, the application may need to be forwarded to the District Licensing Committee for determination at a public hearing.

Step 7 – issuing of alcohol licence

When all reports have been received, the public objection period has closed and there’s no opposition or objection, the application will be put before the District Licensing Committee for approval. If approved, the licence will normally be issued immediately.

Note: where there are final clearances required in relation to the Building Code or Food Hygiene Regulations, the licence will not be issued until these have been provided to the Agency.

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