Off Licence


An off-licence allows the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises. 

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act specifies which types of premises can have an off-licence e.g. bottle stores, winery cellar doors, supermarkets and some grocery stores.  Some hotels and taverns may hold both on and off licences.   Premises that cannot have an off-licence include; petrol stations, garages, conveyances, dairies and convenience stores. 

Off –licences also allow complimentary (free) tastings on the premises, e.g. at winery tasting rooms.  Supermarkets and grocery stores can only sell wine and beer.

How to apply for a licence

You can apply for the licence yourself, or have a consultant or lawyer make the application on your behalf. The Licensing Process Flow Chart attached outlines the steps your application will go through. 

Your new licence will be issued for only one year but can then be renewed at three yearly intervals. 

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 there are criteria that your business must meet to be issued a new or renewed licence. Additional information and documents are required to be provided as part of the application.

Grocery Stores only -  The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations 2013 require a Statement of Gross Sales Revenue to be provided with new and renewal applications.

Application for New Off-licence or Renewal of Off-Licence

You will be contacted by the Licensing Inspector, the Police or Public Health to discuss your application.  If these agencies have concerns about your application they may oppose it. 

Remote Sales of Alcohol

If the applicant only seeks to sell their products by remote sale, i.e. via an internet website, by mail order or over the telephone, then they can request the licence be endorsed for the remote sale of alcohol only. 

Hours of Trade

The hours of trade for licensed premises are limited by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and Local Alcohol Policy (LAP).   The District Plan or a Resource Consent may also dictate the hours you may operate.

Alcohol Licensing Fees

Licensing fees have been set nationally to cover all types of licenses and are based on a cost/risk rating.  There are two types of fees; application fee and annual fee.

Schedule of Licence fees

How long will it take to process the application?

The time it takes to process alcohol licence applications is heavily dependent upon the quality of the information supplied in the application, the advertising of the application and on the receipt of external reports from the Police or Medical Officer of Health.  It will take approximately 5 weeks or more to process the application.  If an application receives an objection or is opposed then the process will take longer for a hearing to be held. 

There are also special rules about accepting and processing applications between 20 December and 15 January (inc) as these are not 'working days' under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Public Notification

You will be sent a copy of the public notice which must be displayed (within 10 working days) in a place where it can be easily seen by a person outside the premises and it should be displayed for at least 10 days.  

Your application will also be publically notified for 15 working days on the Hurunui District Council’s website.  This public notification alerts people to your application in the event they seek to object to the application. You will be advised if objections or opposition has been received and given advanced notice of the date of the District Licensing Committee hearing.

Advertising Dates do not include 20 December to 15 January (inc)

Changes to Company name, Directors and/or Shareholders

Within 10 working days:

Please also notify the Secretary of the Hurunui District Licensing Committee.  This can be made by email to

Related links 

Guidance on Alcohol Promotions by the Health Promotion Agency (Off Licences)