Licensing bodies and regulatory agencies
Licensing bodies make decisions around matters to do with licensed premises and include:
Regulatory agencies have an important role in monitoring licensed premises to ensure they operate within the law and with regard to public health and safety. They carry out a range of investigations and reporting. They can also apply to have a licence suspended, varied or cancelled. The following are the three regulatory agencies.
Police have power of entry to any licensed premises at any reasonable time and may require to see the licence or any records required to establish compliance with the Act. (s.267) They may also seize alcohol and containers without a warrant for the purpose of analysis. (s.268(2))
Functions of the police include:
- enquiring into all applications for licences, manager’s certificates and renewals (s.103(3))
- monitoring licensed premises’ compliance with the Act
- reporting to the DLC or ARLA where there are matters in opposition
- ordering the closure of a licensed premises in the case of rioting, fighting or serious disorder, a threat to public health, public nuisance or for certain criminal offences (s.266)
- applying to ARLA for the variation, suspension or cancellation of a licence
- advising ARLA when a licensee or manager has been convicted of an offence relating to the sale and supply of alcohol to minors, unauthorised sale or supply, sale or supply to intoxicated persons, or allowing persons to become intoxicated
- issuing infringement notices
- prosecuting breaches of the law.
The Medical Officer of Health has a statutory reporting role and may delegate powers and functions to any suitably qualified or trained person. (s.151)
Functions of the Medical Officer of Health include:
- enquiring into all applications for licences and renewals.
- making reports to DLC or ARLA where there are matters in opposition (s.103(3))
- providing information for development of LAPs. (s.78(1))
- applying to DLC for suspension of an on-licence or a club licence where there is evidence of non-compliance with public health requirements. (s.286(1))
The chief executive of each territorial authority must appoint one or more licensing inspectors within its district.
Inspectors have power of entry to any licensed premises at any reasonable time and may require to see the licence or any records to establish compliance with the Act. (s.267) Functions of the Licensing Inspector include:
- enquiring into all applications for licences, ( ss.103, 141 ) managers’ certificates (s.220 ) and renewals (ss.129, 225, s.103(2))
- monitoring licensed premises’ compliance with the Act reporting to the DLC or ARLA (s.197(2))
- appearing and being heard at ARLA and DLC hearings, appeals and other matters (ss.204(3), 205, 206)
- applying to ARLA for variation, suspension and cancellation of licences and Managers’ Certificates (ss.71, 170)
- making appeals to ARLA issuing infringement offence notices (s.262)
- providing information for development of local alcohol policies (LAPs) (s.78(4))
- exercising the power to seize alcohol and containers without a warrant for the purpose of analysis. (s.268(2))
These three agencies are required to collaborate in:
- monitoring licences and enforcing the Act
- implementing strategies for reducing alcohol-related harm. (s.295)
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is concerned with evacuation plans and general fire safety issues such as a venue’s maximum occupancy.
On occasion other inspectors or officers of the local council or regulatory agencies will visit premises, including health inspector, fire safety officer, dangerous goods inspector, health and safety officer, smokefree officer, gaming compliance inspector, and building safety officer.
If you are concerned about the operation of licensed premises in your area (eg, they are selling alcohol to under-18s or there are intoxicated patrons) contact the Police or the Inspector and tell them about your concerns.
Functions of Fire and Emergency New Zealand (previously the Fire Service) include:
- ensuring that premises have evacuation schemes as required by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017
- applying to DLC for suspension of an on-licence or a club licence where there is evidence of non-compliance with requirements for the escape of people in the event of fire.(s.286(1))
The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) was established under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. It is the overarching national body set up to ensure that the law is fairly applied.
The Authority has up to three district court judges (one of whom will be the Chair) and any number of other members. (s.179(1))
Its functions are:
- determining applications for new and renewed licences and Manager’s Certificates that have been referred to it by DLCs (s.170(a))
- determining appeals againstdecisions of DLCs (s.170(b))
- draft local alcohol policies (s.170(c)
- giving direction or statements to DLCs (ss.172,176)
- advising people of the appropriate DLC to go to (s.173)
- referring matters to DLCs for enquiry and report (s.175)
- determining enforcement applications - variation, suspension or cancellation of licences and Managers’ Certificates (s.170(d))
- undertaking other functions conferred on it by any Act.
ARLA can help if you are:
- unhappy with a decision of a district licensing committee
- unhappy with a provisional local alcohol policy and you made a submission on the draft policy
- looking for a list of alcohol licences and manager’s certificates that are active in New Zealand.
It can’t help if you are making an application for a licence or manager's certificate. This must be made to your local council first - see list of local councils.
ARLA can be contacted at ARLA@justice.govt.nz or phone 04 462 6660.
Go to the Ministry of Justice's website for more information about ARLA.
Go to the database of ARLA decisions (2013 onwards).
Go to the database of the Liquor Licensing Authoritiy's (LLA) decisions (prior to 2013).