The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 specifies timelines, deadlines and non-working days that can impact on filing and assessment of alcohol licencing applications. The Act also specifies sacrosanct days on which the sale of alcohol is restricted.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 defines a working day as a day that is not:

  1. A Saturday, a Sunday, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign's Birthday, Matariki or Labour Day; or
  2. A day in the period commencing on 20 December in one year and ending with 15 January in the next year.

Premises applications should be made well before your licence is required. On average 5 to 6 weeks is required to allow for public notification, processing, statutory reporting on your application, and issuing of a District Licensing Committee (DLC) decision on your licence. 

  • This includes taking account of all non-working day periods including as explained above. 
  • The time period required for processing may be longer if there are oppositions from the agencies or objections from the public received for your application or if you have not supplied all the information required to assess your application.

Premises applications made in November/December:

  • If you want to receive a decision on your application before the Christmas period please ensure you have your application lodged with us at the beginning of November at the latest due to the non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January each year. 
  • This is our busiest time of the year for processing all types of applications.

Renewal of premises licences and managers certificates

Renewal applications (external link)for licences and certificates must be lodged 20 working days before the expiry date of the current licence or certificate.  In no case may the application be filed after the licence or certificate has expired. 

If you allow your licence to expire, it means you can no longer sell or supply alcohol or have it consumed or displayed on your premises.

You cannot renew an expired licence or certificate and you will need to make a new application.

It is your responsibility to ensure renewals are received on time. If no renewal is received by the expiry date your licence or certificate automatically expires. 

Special licence applications(external link) must be lodged at least 20 working days before the date of the event, otherwise they may not be accepted by the DLC for consideration. 

Short notice (late) applications(external link) made less than 20 working days before the event date must be accompanied by a letter explaining the reason for its lateness. A DLC Commissioner will make a decision on whether your late application can be accepted for assessment. You need to have a good reason as the Act refers to the reason for lateness as could not reasonably have been foreseen. 

Application deadlines and non-working days may also impact timelines for special licence applications. Processing may also be longer if there are oppositions or objections received for your application.

Special licence applications up to Christmas and over summer

This is our busiest time for processing all types of applications, especially special licences.

Lodge your application early, if in doubt contact alcohol licensing for specific time frames. 

Special licences dates and deadlines can be found below.

  • Good Friday and Easter Sunday 
  • ANZAC Day until 1pm 
  • Christmas Day

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, referring to Easter Sunday trading, does not override the requirements for the sale of alcohol under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and the requirements for a special licence on sacrosanct days.

Off-licences

Premises holding an off-licence are not permitted to sell alcohol on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac day.

On-licences

No alcohol is to be sold on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac day to any person other than those who are:

  • for the time being, living on the premises; or
  • present on the premises for the purpose of dining.

Casual drinking is not permitted. This includes restaurants.

Waitangi Day and Matariki

Waitangi Day and Matariki public holiday's are not sacrosanct days and are normal trading days. 

In years where Waitangi day falls on a weekend day, the public holiday is transferred to the following Monday.  

Matariki date shifts each year to align with Maori lunar calendar. Review dates here(external link).

Waitangi Day

All special licence applications for Waitangi Day 6 February must be received by the second week in December.

Easter, ANZAC Day and Matariki

All applications must be made at least 20 working days before the event, otherwise, they may not be accepted by the District Licensing Committee for consideration (please refer to additional information above about Late Applications for Special Licences).

Canterbury Anniversary Week (Cup Week and Show Day)

Special licence applications may also be needed for events happening during Canterbury Anniversary Week.  We encourage you to apply early as this is our busiest period for processing applications. 

Christmas and New Years

Special licence applications must be lodged at least 20 working days before the event. We encourage you to apply early as this is our busiest period.

New Year’s Eve occurs on the same date every year so late notice applications are unlikely to be accepted as the need for a special licence can be reasonably foreseen.

Christmas is a sacrosanct day for trading.

Summer Special licence deadlines

As a guide, the following deadlines for special licence applications apply for summer.

  • If your event is between 19 December and 23 January, you must make your application by 19 November at the latest, to ensure it can be processed and granted and issued to you by 20 December. This includes all special licence applications for Christmas and New Years Eve.
  • If your event is between 21 January and 28 January, you must make your application by 26 November to ensure it can be processed and granted and issued to you in time for your event. Or carefully check at least 20 working days.
  • If your event is between 29 January and 15 February, we recommend you make your application by early December. Or carefully check at least 20 working days before the date of your event, remembering we do not count the days from 20 December to 15 January each year.

    For example, If you have an event on Valentine's day 14 February, then 18 December is the very last day for submitting an application on time. Consider applying well before 20 December because of our non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January.