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A local alcohol policy is a set of decisions made by a council in consultation with its community about the sale and supply of alcohol in its area.

Local alcohol policies, sometimes called LAPs, have legal standing under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. This means that local alcohol policies must be considered in all decisions about alcohol licences. So if you want to influence the basis for decisions about alcohol in your community, have your say on your local alcohol policy.

Local alcohol policies are optional. Councils are not required to have one, although most have chosen to. If your council does not have a local alcohol policy, you can ask them to develop one. Local alcohol policies are made by territorial authorities; city or district councils, including the Auckland Council.

Through local alcohol policies, communities are able to:

  • limit the location of licences in particular areas, such as near schools, community centres, playgrounds or churches
  • control the density of licences by stating whether new licences should be issued in an area
  • impose conditions on groups of licences, such as a “one-way door” condition that would allow patrons to leave premises but not enter or re-enter after a certain time
    restrict or extend the maximum opening hours set in the Act:
    • 8am to 4am for on-licences (such as pubs and restaurants)
    • 7am to 11pm for off-licences (such as bottle stores and supermarkets).
      Councils must develop their local alcohol policies in consultation with their communities. This means that you will have opportunities to put your views forward.

Some councils seek the views of their residents before they develop their draft policies. They may undertake surveys, hold public meetings and host discussions using Internet forums. Once a council has developed a draft policy they must invite public submissions on it. It is important to make a written submission if you want your voice to be heard. Backing that up with an oral submission is even better.

You can also visit your local council’s website. Find your local council