Key points for businesses

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Trading hours

The maximum trading hours during which licensed businesses can sell alcohol are:

  • 8am - 4am for on-licences and clubs (such as bars, pubs and nightclubs)
  • 7am - 11pm for off-licences (such as bottle stores, supermarkets and grocery stores)

If your existing licence is for shorter hours, you must stick to those times.

Local councils may set different maximum trading hours as part of a local alcohol policy. Check your council's website to see if it has put a policy in place.

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Host responsibilities

All on-licences have to supply or make available low- and non-alcohol beverages, food and information about safe transport.

Also, businesses receiving an on-licence for the first time or renewing their existing on-licence:

  • must supply free water for patrons, and
  • will have to meet other conditions required by the local district licensing committee (for example, one-way door restrictions after certain times, security requirements).

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Advertising & promotions

The legislation bans all advertising and marketing that promotes excessive alcohol consumption or has special appeal to minors.

Except within licensed premises, you also can't:

  • advertise free alcohol
  • promote discounts of 25% or more
  • offer customers free goods, services or opportunities to win prizes if they buy alcohol.

The penalty is a fine of up to $10,000. A business's licence may also be suspended or cancelled.

We encourage you to check section 237 of the Act and get legal advice before placing ads or launching promotions.

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Store displays

The law requires that alcohol displays and promotions in supermarkets and grocery stores can only be in a single area of the store. The aim is to limit how much shoppers are exposed to them.

You can display low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer, wine and mead (less than 1.15% alcohol) outside the single alcohol area, but we suggest you place them there because they're promoted – and recognised by shoppers – as low-strength alternatives.

Find out more about the rules for displaying low alcohol beverages.

Check sections 112-115 of the Act and get legal advice to ensure you comply with the law.

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Intoxicated people will not be served

As under the previous law, you can't serve intoxicated people or allow them to remain on the premises.

The Act clearly defines 'intoxicated'. This means someone who is affected by alcohol, drugs or other substances and who is displaying two or more of the following conditions:

  • affected appearance
  • impaired behaviour
  • impaired co-ordination or
  • impaired speech.

You should familiarise yourself with the definition and make sure your staff know their responsibilities.

Useful resources include the intoxication assessment tool.

Intoxication assessment tool [PDF, 163 KB]

The penalties for breaching intoxicated patrons offences include fines of up to $10,000.

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Repeat offenders' licences may be cancelled

If you break licensing laws, you are more likely to lose your licence or manager's certificate than under the old Act.

In particular, if the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority finds you breached specific provisions 3 times within 3 years, your licence or manager's certificate can be cancelled. If it is, you won't be able to get another one for 5 years.

The specific offences are set out in section 288 of the Act. They include breaking the new advertising and promotions rules, and selling and supplying alcohol to underage drinkers and intoxicated people.

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Grocery stores, dairies and convenience stores

Grocery stores that mainly sell food products may sell alcohol if they have an off-licence.

The definition of 'food products' doesn't include convenience foods (for example, confectionary, ready-to-eat takeaways and snack food). Detailed definitions are outlined in the Act.

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Special licences

If you're holding an event that requires a special licence, you must apply at least 20 working days before the event is held (although exceptions can be made for unforeseen events, such as funerals).

It's important to note that a 'working day' doesn't include weekends, statutory holidays or any day between 20 December and 15 January (inclusive).

For more information about special licences and how to apply, check with your local council.

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Resources & useful information

The Health Promotion Agency has a range of resources and publications designed to help people understand and comply with the new laws.

See the research and resources section at alcohol.org.nz (external link)

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