Legislation reforming New Zealand’s alcohol laws was passed by Parliament on 11 December 2012, received Royal Assent on 18 December 2012, and is now law.  The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, along with the Local Government (Alcohol Reform) Amendment Act 2012, and Summary Offences (Alcohol Reform) Amendment Act 2012, replace the Sale of Liquor Act 1989.

The main changes for local government under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act are:

  • The move from national to local decision-making;
  • Local alcohol policies (LAPs) with legal standing (LAPs are optional, not mandatory);
  • Expanded licence criteria and grounds for objection;
  • New criteria for alcohol control bylaws (liquor bans);
  • National default maximum trading hours; and
  • New cost recovery regime through fees.

Click here for an explanation of the new roles for territorial authorities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

For information on alcohol in the local government sector including alcohol legislation and information on district licensing committees, click here.

Current status

LGNZ has been working with the Ministry of Justice, territorial authorities, and other stakeholders to implement the alcohol reforms.

LGNZ’s KnowHow Professional Development, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, has successfully delivered a training programme on the functions, responsibilities and operation of a District Licensing Committee (DLCs) from September – December 2013.  Due to popular demand, they are running more of these workshops.  Click here for more information.

At this stage, councils are at varying stages of their LAP development.  Several have already reached or are nearing the end of their 30 day public notification period for their provisional LAP (PLAP), and have received appeals as a result.  This will be an interesting time of development as the first appeals to go through the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) will provide precedence in terms of the hearings process for PLAP appeals and interpretation of the Act.

Alcohol resources

Date updated: 20 May 2019