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, Police, and Medical Officer of Health that you have practical measures in place to prevent problems with intoxication, unruly behaviour and minors.

Alcohol management plans can also be a useful tool for larger premises.

You should also be familiar with the guidelines around what is considered acceptable or unacceptable advertising, promotions, activities and events involving alcohol.

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 page.

BYO and on-licence in restaurants

This information sheet gives you more guidance and information about managing BYO at your restaurant [PDF, 122 KB].

These documents are useful tools for those applying for an on-licence:


Under a club licence you can only sell alcohol to authorised customers. 

This is a condition on all club licences.

Please refer to our Club information sheet [PDF, 73 KB] and Club staff training reminder tool [PDF, 96 KB] for guidance.

The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) has some useful tools for clubs(external link), including signs that can be displayed on the bar for staff to use as a reference tool and guide.

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 than 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:

Alcohol is prohibited as prize

Are you planning a raffle, sweepstake, bingo, prize competition, a game of chance, or an instant game like scratch and win, where alcohol is the prize? 

All these activities are regulated as Gambling Activities. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has the rules for running a gambling activity(external link) fact sheet for these various types of activities and promotions. Any questions about these types of activities should be directed to DIA.

It is illegal to offer alcohol as a prize.


Industry tools and resources for licensees

In addition to the health promotion agency(external link) website, further useful tools, resources and information for licensees can also be found at the following websites:

Fresh Air Project logoSmokefree information

Are you interested in having smokefree outdoor dining? Information can be found at the Fresh Air Project.(external link) 

The Christchurch City Council also has a voluntary parks and reserves smokefree public places policy

Kiwi Access - HNZ evidence of age and identity card

In 2019 Hospitality NZ launched the Kiwi Access - evidence of age and identity card. This replaces the current 18+ card.

The all-new Kiwi Access Card was launched nationwide on 14 January and now replaces the current 18+ Card. Launched by Hospitality New Zealand, the new Kiwi Access Card has been created to better facilitate access to goods and services for everyone, across all sections of society in New Zealand. It can be used as a proof of age and identity throughout New Zealand and is available to both nationals and foreign visitors.

New security features include micro text, braille, guilloche, UV ink, embossing, selected points of transparency and holographic overlay.  A fresh Hospitality New Zealand logo rounds out the slick graphics and elemental design.

Visit the Kiwi Access website(external link) for more information.