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Liquor Licencing 20 Working Day Deadline Strictly Enforced

Liquor Licencing 20 Working Day Deadline Being Strictly Enforced

Bars, clubs and events needing a licence to sell or supply alcohol must strictly adhere to the legal timeframes required by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (the Act).

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has stated that with the exception of funerals they are now firmly enforcing the 20 working day timeframe for Special Liquor Licence applications or anyone needing to renew their business liquor licence.

RDC Licencing Inspector, Tracy Gibson, said that people should be aware that some licenced premises still require a special liquor licence for certain events.

“Anyone booking a venue should check as to what the licencing requirements are and leave plenty of time for the processing of a special licence if it is needed,” she said.

“Bar Managers also need to ensure that they renew their Manager Certificate before its expiry date as they will not be able to renew it once it has expired.”

“Anyone not adhering to the legal timeframes may find their application is declined,” she said.

“Council would like people to understand that the 20 working day requirement is not some arbitrary figure and that we are bound by the legislation.”

“The processing of an application involves a number of different agencies.”

“As well as Council, the District Licencing Committee (DLC), the Police and District Health Boards are all involved in the licencing process,” she said.

“Any shortening of the available working days for processing the application cascades down the line putting pressure on all subsequent agencies involved.”

Mrs Gibson said that Ruapehu’s new DLC had initially allowed a six month grace period after the new Act came into force in mid-December last year to allow everyone to get fully conversant with the new process and timeframes.

“We have found that most commercial hospitality providers seem to have adapted well to the new regime,” she said.

“We have however had a number of volunteer groups involved in annual or one-off events requiring a special liquor licence who have not allowed the statutory 20 working days for the processing of their application.”

“Council had been allowing some leeway around the 20 working day rule but the ‘honeymoon period’ is now over and the DLC is requiring us to enforce the letter of the Act.”

Mrs Gibson added that because of the issues and community concerns around the sale and use of alcohol Council’s compliance unit has increased the level of monitoring being undertaken of Ruapehu’s hospitality providers.

“Council is happy to do all it can within the new legislative framework to assist Ruapehu’s hospitality industry and support the holding of successful events.”

“However, we also need to ensure that everyone involved in the sale or management of alcohol clearly understands what their legal obligations and requirements are so we can assist with reducing alcohol related harm in our communities,” she said.

“In this regard Council is encouraging anyone who has an interest to come along to two Liquor Liaison Group meetings we are holding in Taumarunui on Tuesday 23rd September and Ohakune on Thursday 25th September.”

“Both meetings are being held in the respective Council Chambers from 6.30pm and will discuss Special Liquor Licences, what discretion Council has around the cost of different categories of licence fee, and under what circumstances the 20 working day requirement might be waivered.”

“As well as these issues the meetings will provide an opportunity to have any other questions answered and allow operators to keep in touch with local liquor control agencies such as the Police, Fire, Health, and District Licensing.”

Mrs Gibson noted that Council would like to ask that anyone who has a question for any of the liquor control agencies at the meeting to email it in before-hand to; info@ruapehudc.govt.nz

“In the interim if anyone has any issues with completing applications they should contact their local Council office and make an appointment where we can assist them go through the application together,” she said.


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