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, 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 should 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. 

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. 

For premises licences: 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.

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 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 for the summer period

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

If you a decision before the Christmas period please ensure you have applied before the first week of November at the latest to allow for the non-working period of 20 December to 15 January each year.  

Special licences dates and deadlines can be found below.

  • Good Friday: 2 April 2021
  • Easter Sunday: 4 April 2021
  • ANZAC Day: Sunday 25 April 2021 (while Monday 26 April is a transferable public holiday, Monday is not a sacrosanct day for alcohol licence trading purposes)
  • Christmas Day: Saturday 25 December 2021

Please note that 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.

All 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.

Other public holidays

  • Waitangi Day: 6 February each year. This is not a sacrosanct day and is a normal trading day. 
  • In years where this day falls on a weekend day, the public holiday is transferred to the following Monday.  In 2021 Waitangi Day is on a Saturday, so Monday 8 February 2021 is a public holiday.

Waitangi Day 2021

All special licence applications for Waitangi Day 6 February 2021 must be received by 11 December 2020.

Easter and ANZAC Day 2021

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)

Sacrosanct Day trading for 2021:

  • Good Friday: 2 April 2021
  • Easter Sunday: 4 April 2021
  • ANZAC Day: Sunday 25 April 2021 (while Monday 26 April is a public holiday, it is not a sacrosanct day for alcohol licence trading purposes)

Any event planned in 2021 for:

  • Easter 2021: applications must be received by Thursday 4 March 2021 at the very latest.
  • ANZAC Day 2021: applications must be received by Thursday 25 March 2021 at the very latest.

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. 

Canterbury Anniversary Day is Friday 12 November 2021. Applications for Show Day must be received by Thursday 14 October 2021 at the very latest.

Christmas and New Years Eve 2021 and January and February 2022

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. If you want the security of knowing whether your special licence will be granted before you start advertising you should apply even earlier. 

Note: New Year’s Eve comes on the same date every year.  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 2021/2022

As a guide, the following deadlines for special licence applications apply for summer 2021/2022: 

  • The period commencing on 20 December 2021 and ending with 15 January 2022 is a non-working day period for all Alcohol Licensing applications. Carefully check the date that 20 working days before your event will be.
  • If your event is between 19 December 2021 and 23 January 2022, you must make your application by 26 November 2021 at the latest, to ensure it can be processed and granted and issued to you by 20 December 2021.  This includes all special licence applications for Christmas and New Years Eve.
  • If your event is between 21 January 2022 and 28 January 2022, you must make your application by 26 November 2021 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 2022 and 15 February 2022, we recommend make your application by early December 2021. 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 2022, then 18 December 2021 is the very last day for submitting an application on time. Consider applying well before 20 December 2020 because of our non-working day period from 20 December to 15 January.

Waitangi Day 2022

  • Because we do not count the days from 20 December to 15 January this also means that all special licence applications for Waitangi Day 6 February 2022 must be received by 10 December 2021 at the latest.