How to object to a licence to sell or supply alcohol

How to object to a licence to sell or supply
Are you concerned about proposals for a licensed premises in your
Here is what you need to know!
The law has been changed to give communities a stronger voice when it comes to issuing
licences to sell or supply alcohol. You now have more options to object to a licence that
affects you.
This brochure has important information for you. It does not replace the Sale and Supply of
Alcohol Act 2012 which should be referred to in cases of doubt.
How has the law changed?
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the new Act) became law on 19 December 2012. Some
provisions of the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 (the old Act) continue to apply until 18 December 2013.
Already a new Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) has replaced the former Liquor
Licensing Authority and new licensing criteria and grounds for objections have replaced requirements
in the old Act.
From 18 December 2013 the new Act comes fully into effect including the establishment of new
District Licensing Committees (DLCs), which will consider all applications for licences in each
territorial authority. For more detail about the new law go to
Can I object to a licence?
You can object to the granting of a new licence or licence renewal if you have a ‘greater interest’ in
the application than the public generally.
A person with a ‘greater interest’ could, for example, be someone living or working in the same street
as the proposed premises, or a member of a board of trustees of a school or marae that is located
If you are a member of the public who is concerned about the general effects of alcohol in the
community but who lives in another part of town and does not have a special interest in the
application, it is likely that you do not meet the criterion of having ‘greater interest’ than the public
If you are another licensee you may have a special interest in the application and object to the licence
but any concerns about the impact of the licence application on your business will not be taken into
There is no cost for lodging an objection.
What are the grounds for objection?
You can now object to a liquor licence based on (but only on) any of the following criteria:
 The object of the Act
 The suitability of the applicant
 Any relevant local alcohol policy
 The days and hours of sale
 The design and layout of premises
The sale of goods other than alcohol and refreshments
The provision of other services not related to the sale of alcohol and refreshments
Whether amenity and good order of the area would be substantially reduced
The undesirability of further licences where amenity and good order have already been
Whether the applicant has systems, staff and training to comply with the law
Any matters reported by the Police, an inspector or the Medical Officer of Health.
Further information on these criteria is included in the associated document titled ‘Criteria for
objections to licences’.
The decision makers cannot take into account the impacts of the licence on a business conducted
under any other licence or other matters not covered by the criteria.
How do I talk about my concerns?
In your objection you will need to link your concerns to the criteria. For example, you may be
concerned that another licensed premises in your street would add to existing noise, vandalism and
disturbance. You might want to talk about the current situation (e.g. noise levels at night, rubbish etc.)
and then your concerns about how this would be affected by a new licensed premises, or the renewal
of the licence. If you have a concern about the suitability of the applicant you should have evidence
that demonstrates the unsuitability of the applicant.
Who decides whether a licence will be granted?
The bodies that make decisions about licences are:
District Licensing Agencies/District Licensing Committees (DLA/DLC)
Applications are made to the local DLA until 17 December 2013. From 18 December 2013
applications will be made to a DLC, which will replace the DLA. DLAs consider uncontested
applications only. DLCs will consider all licence applications. The DLA and DLC are administered by
your local territorial authority and relevant information can be found on its website. To find the right
website go to:
Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA)
ARLA is the national decision making body for licensing and deals with matters referred to it by a DLA
or DLC, as well as appeals against DLA or DLC decisions. Until 17 December 2013 it also will decide
all uncontested licence applications. For more information on the ARLA go to:
How do I make an objection?
Your objection must be filed with the DLA/DLC within 15 working days after the first public notice
about the application appears in the newspaper. The full postal address of the DLA/DLC will be
included in the notification.
Your objection must be made in writing and include your full name, address and contact telephone
number. You may object only in relation to matters that are able to be considered when granting a
licence - the licence criteria. You should clearly set out the reasons for your objection and also state
whether or not you wish to appear at any hearing. Your objection is likely to have greater effect if you
attend the hearing personally and speak in support of your submission.
You can make an individual objection or participate in a written group submission, nominating one or
two representatives to appear and present the objection at the hearing.
Once your objection is received, it becomes a public document and will be made available to the
person applying for the licence and other people or organisations outside the DLA.
Your council website may have specific instructions about how to make an objection. To find the right
website go to:
How is the licensing decision made?
The DLA/DLC will acknowledge receipt of your objection or you may be contacted by a licensing
inspector to discuss it. A copy of your objection is sent to the applicant.
Copies of the application and any objections are also sent to the Police, Medical Officer of Health
(located in the local District Health Board) and licensing inspector (who works for the territorial
authority but acts independently to enforce the Act, monitor licences and advise the DLA/DLC and
ARLA on applications). Licensing inspectors must provide a report to the DLA on each licence
application. The Medical Officer of Health and the Police must inquire into each application and report
to the DLA on them when they have matters in opposition.
Prior to 18 December 2013, contested applications will be forwarded with all reports and objections to
ARLA, which will investigate and make a decision. After 18 December 2013 the DLC will consider all
licence applications whether contested or not. If there are no objections the application may be
granted without a public hearing. If there are objections a public hearing with all parties must be held.
If the objection is deemed vexatious or if the applicant does not require it, a hearing may not be held.
In considering any application for a licence, the DLA/DLC and ARLA, must consider the new,
expanded criteria.
For more information on ARLA, and the hearings process, and the decisions made by ARLA, go to:
How do I appeal a decision?
If you made an objection and you disagree with the decision you can appeal to ARLA. You need to
give a notice of appeal to ARLA within 10 working days of the DLC decision being notified.
All appeals filed before 18 December 2013 will be dealt with using the procedure in the old Act. All
appeals filed on or after 18 December 2013 will be dealt with under the new Act.
There is a cost for filing an appeal. For more information on appeals go to: