Host responsibility means creating a responsible drinking environment and looking out for your customers while they are on your premises. The Christchurch City Council is serious about host responsibility and keeping customers safe.

If you currently hold an alcohol licence you must have a host responsibility policy and provide regular and ongoing staff training. You must satisfy the Council’s Alcohol Licensing Team and Medical Officer of Health that you have practical measures in place to prevent problems with intoxication, unruly behaviour and minors.

Host responsibility policy guidelines

Licensed premises within the Christchurch District Licensing Committee area must have developed a written Host Responsibility Plan. This plan, often referred to as a ‘house policy’, should be made available to all staff and displayed in some form for both customers and staff.

View the Host Responsibility Policy Guidelines [PDF, 144 KB].

The elements of a host responsibility policy are:

  • serve alcohol responsibly
  • provide and promote alternatives, such as low and non-alcoholic beverages
  • provide and promote an appropriate food selection
  • identify and appropriately deal with underage drinking
  • identify and appropriately deal with customers who are intoxicated
  • arrange safe transport options
  • educate and train staff in host responsibility practices.

Host responsibility for events

Find more information about being a responsible Host for events on our Special Licence information page.

Further information

These documents give more information about applying for and holding an on-licence:

Alcohol promotions

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 creates offences and penalties for certain ‘irresponsible’ alcohol promotions or activities. Irresponsible promotions can result in fines and licence suspensions, increase alcohol related harm, and also damage the reputation and prospects of a business. This guideline is intended to aid understanding of the advertising, promotions (including “happy hours”), activities and events that are likely to be considered acceptable or unacceptable. The determination of an unacceptable promotion or event will always be decided on an individual case by case basis. 

New measures to regulate irresponsible alcohol promotions came into force on 18 December 2013. Under the Act it is an offence to do any of the following:

  • Encourage excessive consumption of alcohol. This applies anywhere – not just on licensed premises.
  • Promote or advertise discounts on alcohol of 25% or more, anywhere that can be seen or heard from outside the licensed premises. Note that:
    • It is not an offence to promote or have a discount on licensed premises of 25% or more if it cannot be seen or heard from outside the premises.
    • It is not an offence to promote or have a discount that can be seen from outside the premises if it is less than 25%.
  • Promote or advertise free alcohol. This does not apply to promotions inside licensed premises if they cannot be seen or heard from outside the premises and providing excessive consumption is not encouraged.
  • Offer goods, services or prizes on condition that alcohol is purchased.
    • However, this does not apply to offers made only on licensed premises relating to the buying of alcohol.
    • Loyalty programmes where rewards or discounts are not primarily applied to the purchase of alcohol are allowed.
  • Promote alcohol in a way that is aimed at or likely to have special appeal to minors. 

Your responsibilities

Acceptable promotions must still be suitably monitored, managed and controlled to ensure excessive consumption of alcohol is not encouraged. Ask yourself: will my promotion make people drink faster or more then they normally would? If the answer is yes, reconsider your promotion.

National Guidance on alcohol promotions can be found on the Health Promotion Agency(external link) website and includes:

Information on acceptable and unacceptable promotions inside and outside on-licenced premises(external link)

Information on acceptable and unacceptable promotions inside and outside off-licenced premises(external link).