The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Act 2023 (the Amendment Act) makes it easier for communities to have a say on alcohol regulation in their area, by making targeted changes to the alcohol licensing process in the Act. 

There are two sets of changes.

Changes in force from 31 August 2023

The first set of changes, which are now in force:

  • remove the ability for people to appeal provisional local alcohol policies (LAPs) to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA)
  • enable district licensing committees (DLCs) and ARLA to decline to renew a licence if the licence would be inconsistent with conditions on location or licence density in the relevant LAP, and
  • allow any person to object to licence applications, whether as an individual or a representative of a group or an organisation, with narrow exceptions for trade competitors and their surrogates.

Changes in force from 30 May 2024

The second set of changes are to the way licensing hearings are run.

From 30 May 2024, DLCs and ARLA will be required to consider reasonable requests from parties to attend hearings remotely.

There will also be changes to how DLC hearings are run. Those changes will require that hearings:

  • avoid unnecessary formality
  • do not permit cross-examination, or the ability for parties to question other parties or their witnesses – DLCs will test evidence instead
  • allow for tikanga to be incorporated into proceedings, and
  • allow evidence to be received in te reo Māori.

The time before the changes come into effect means people can prepare. The Ministry of Justice will provide more information about these changes next year.

Find out more

More information is in these attached pamphlets from the Ministry of Justice.

Information for councils and regulatory agencies

Information for district licensing committees

Information for objectors

Information for applicants and licence holders

General Information - Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Act 2023