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The new rules on Alcohol Sale and Supply

Setareh Masoud-Ansari
Setareh Masoud-Ansari

ARTICLE by Setareh Masoud-Ansari

18 December 2013



On 18 December 2012 the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (“SSAA”) was enacted. The new regime replaces the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 (“SOLA”).   The majority of the machinery provisions and the establishment of the new District Licensing Committees (“DLCs”) comes into force on 18 December 20131.


Hours of operation

That means that bars, taverns, clubs and pubs can only be open between 8am and 4am. Off-license venues can only be open between 7am and 11pm.


The purpose of the SSAA is on the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol. As such Councils will start a process of developing Local Alcohol Policies (“LAPs”) to cater for the different aspirations of their communities. In Auckland, that may mean 21 different sub-policies. Submissions will be called for when draft LAPs are advertised. If any one does not like the way a Council responded to their submission, that decision can be appealed to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (“ARLA”).


Liquor licenses will be more difficult to obtain as applicants must meet stricter tests. Firstly the applications will be determined by an independent commissioner in most instances. Secondly, the criteria for the grant of licenses will focus on responsible alcohol consumption.   Section 105 of SSAA introduces new criteria for decision makers to have regard to. Section 105(1)(h) and (i) introduces the terms  “amenity” and “good order”. In summary, the grant of a license should not lead to the amenity and good order of a neighbourhood (to which the license relates) to get any worse than it is at the time the application was lodged.   

There are extensive appeal rights under the SSAA for those who do not like the conditions proposed in any license. All appeals will be considered by ARLA prior to any person exercising further appeal rights to the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Hosting teenage parties 

Even though the law remains unchanged in that 18 year old may still purchase alcohol, if any parent or guardian is hosting a party and alcohol is being supplied to a minor at the party, that parent may be liable to prosecution by the Police. So if your teenagers are having a party, be weary and supervise them carefully.

[1] Section 186 to 200 SSAA. The new law officially comes into force at 12am on 18 December 2013.