Special Licence

A special licence allows for the sale of alcohol at special occasions or events. This is normally used to licence one-off events where no licence is currently held, or extend the hours or area of a licensed premises in relation to a special occasion. A special licence is valid for the particular event, or series of events, specified in the licence.

Special Licences for Summer Events 

Special licence applications must be submitted at least 20 working days before the date of the event. Working days do not include weekends, public holidays or the days 20 December to 15 January inclusive.

Please contact us if you have any doubts about when you should apply for a special licence and we will help with working last application dates out for you.

Events That Require A Special Licence

How do I know if I need a Special Licence?  (40KB PDF)

If you are holding an event where alcohol will be for sale then a Special Licence is required. Alcohol is deemed to be for sale if you are selling over the bar, charging a fee such as an entry fee, ticket price or other payment for an alcohol-inclusive matter, if the cost of alcohol is included in pre-sold tickets, or if you ask for koha or donation in relation to an alcohol-inclusive matter.

A Special Licence is also required where an event or activity is outside the usual or regular activities of an On, Off or Club Licence i.e. has some 'specialty' and is not just normal business.

Special Licence Can Cover More Than One Event

A Special Licence can cover a series of events. This means a series of related events or activities which have specified beginning and end points.

An on-going Special Licence will not be issued where, in the opinion of the District Licensing Committee, the extent of the activity is such that an On Licence or Club Licence is required under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Types of Special Licence

There are two types of Special Licence:

On-site special licence - allows the licensee to sell or supply alcohol for consumption on the site to people attending an event.
Off-site special licence - allows the licensee to sell the licensee's alcohol for consumption somewhere else and supply free samples.

Applying for a Special Licence

Applications must be lodged at least 20 working days before the date of the event. This is to allow the Police and Public Health to comment on your application. It's important to note that a 'working day' does not include weekends, statutory holidays or any day between 20 December and 15 January (inclusive). Exceptions can be made for unforeseen events, such as funerals. 

The organisation or individual selling the alcohol and receiving the profit must apply for the Special Licence.

You may be contacted by the Licensing Inspector, the Police or Public Health to discuss your application in detail, especially for larger events.

If there is no opposition your application can be determined by the District Licensing Committee Chairperson. If there is any opposition from the Inspector, Police or Public Health, your application will have to be determined by a hearing. This will take longer so you must apply in plenty of time.

Provision of Food and Water

Free water must be available at all events for which a Special Licence is issued. Normally food, non-alcoholic drinks and low-alcoholic drinks will be required at events for which a Special Licence is issued.

Public Health may contact you about the source of your drinking water and what treatment it has undergone to ensure it is safe to drink.

Certified Manager in Attendance

You may be required, as a condition of a Special Licence, that the holder of a Manager’s Certificate be present and responsible for the sale of alcohol at the event.

Large Events

Where a Special Licence is sought for a large scale event, you may be required to have an Alcohol Management Plan.

The plan should describe how you propose to deal with matters such as security, monitoring, interacting with local residents, and public health concerns.

An Alcohol Management Plan template and resources can be downloaded from www.alcohol.org.nz

You may also be required to liaise with the Police and the Council on planning the event. You may be required to obtain a Local Authority certificate to show that the proposed event will comply with the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Building Code.

Special Licence Fees

The fee for a Special Licence is $63.25, $207 or $575 depending on the size of your event and the number of events on the application.

More information on Licence Fees.

Application Forms

Related Links

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03 546 0200