Host responsibility means creating a responsible drinking environment and looking out for your customers while they are on your premises. The 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, 1.5 MB].

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.

Amohia te Waiora has some useful alcohol resources.(external link)

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. 

Bottomless Brunches

We regularly receive questions about alcohol promotions including Bottom Brunches.  We assess each promotion idea on a case by case basis, based on the information provided.

Advertising a bottomless brunch promotion could breach section 237 (Irresponsible promotion of alcohol) of the Act. Amohia te Waiora has some useful alcohol resources.(external link)

We assess each promotion on its merits including factors such as: 

  • Time frame (e.g. limited to 2 hours).
  • Quantity of food (e.g. buffet, two or more courses).
  • Drinks available (alcoholic, low-alcohol and non-alcohol).
  • Drink alcohol percentage.
  • Management of consumption of alcohol (e.g. one drink at a time).
  • Manner and wording of advertising (s237) e.g. does alcohol appear to be the main focus, is it encouraging excessive consumption?

If you’re planning a bottomless style of promotion, we encourage you to talk with us before you advertise.  Please contact the Alcohol Licensing Team if you have any questions.

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:

Amohia te Waiora has some useful alcohol resources.(external link)

Alcohol is prohibited as a prize

Are you planning a raffle, sweepstakes, 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 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

Smoke Free 2025 information and signage(external link)

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 – evidence of age and identity card

In 2019 Hospitality NZ launched the Kiwi Access card – evidence of age and identity. 

The all-new Kiwi Access card was launched nationwide on 14 January and now replaces the 18+ Card. It was 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.