There are two kinds of possible licence for Lions events. A Special Licence for a one off or series of events and a Club Licence. A special licence is more suitable and easier to obtain than a club licence but both are expensive and time-consuming processes with multiple steps to be complied with. For advice and assistance contact the Liquor Licensing Inspector at your local Council.

Special Licence requirements (for events):

  1.  A special licence will not be issued if the licencing committee thinks it is more appropriate to have an on-licence, off-licence or club licence (see s 41)
  2. Follow the steps prescribed in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 at subpart 4:

    a. Prepare application (include required detail per s 138)

    i. Add extra detail if a large event (see s 143)

    ii. In general will not need as much info as an on-licence, off-licence or club-licence application because s 106 good order and amenity is not repeated in subpart 4.

    b. File application at least 20 working days before event (s 137)

    c. Notify public (generally just attach a sign at the event location, see s 139)

    d. Wait for processing

    i. Objections (s 140)

    ii. Inquiry by police, inspector, and Medical Officer of Health (s 141)

    e. Decision made by licensing committee (see ss 142-148)

    f. If granted, comply with any conditions, duration, and display requirements (see ss 143-150).

    i. Large scale events have additional requirements (s 143)

Club Licences

Lions would again need to follow the steps prescribed in the Act:

  1. Prepare application – comply with s 100 for new application, comply with s 127 for renewal

    a. Correct name

    b. “prescribed form and manner”

    c. “prescribed particulars”

    d. If it relates to premises include items listed in s 100(d)

    e. Accompanied by “prescribed fee”

    f. Accompanied by certificate by territorial authority that proposed use of premises meets requirements of Resource Management Act 1991 & building code.

    g. If a renewal:

    i. The licence must have been held by the club since before the commencement of s 28 – s 125

    ii. The renewal must be filed no later than 20 working days before the expiry of the licence with the same licencing committee – s 127(2)

    h. Note that to assist reporting bodies the following information (needed under the Amenity and Good Order sections of the Act) should also be attached to new, renewal and existing applications:

    i. What appropriate systems, staff, and training is in place or will be put in place to ensure compliance with the law

    ii. Current and possible future noise levels (if relevant what they intend to do to mitigate them)

    iii. Current and possible future levels of nuisance and vandalism (if relevant what they intend to do to mitigate them)

    iv. The number of other licensed premises in the area. Will the granting of this licence increase negative effects in the area?

    v. The purposes for which land near the premises is being used for, and will that change if the licence is issued?

    vi. NOTE: New applications also require a declaration stating that the premises has a evacuation scheme registered with the fire service or the premises are exempt from requiring one. (Refer:

  2. File application.

    a. This is filed with the licensing committee for the district in which the premises are situation - s 99(1).

  3. Notify the public – s 101

    a. Within 10 working days after filing application ensure notice of application in prescribed form is attached in a conspicuous place on or adjacent to the site to which the application relates.

    b. Give public notice of application – within 20 working days after filing application for new applications, or 10 working days for renewals (s127(3)).

  4. Wait for application to be processed by licensing committee.

    a. Objections – ss 102, 105, 128

    b. Inquiries with Police, Medical Officer of Health, inspector – s 103, 129

    c. Decision made –s 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 130, 131, 134, 135

  5. Decision is made by licensing committee to grant or not grant license.

    a. Conditions may be imposed – ss 109, 110, 111, 117, 132, 133

    b. Mandatory conditions on clubs will be imposed – s 110(2), including (but not limited to)

    i. State days / hours alcohol sold and supplied

    ii. State place where drinking water freely available during open hours

    c. Any other earlier licences will automatically expire – s 121

As can be seen from the required steps the processes are difficult and the application fees and costs of compliance can be expensive but a failure to comply with the law will expose members to prosecution and penalties. An alternative is to meet at a premise that has its own licence and obtain any alcohol from them so all of the requirements have already been met. The new Act is in full force on 18 December 2013 but new applications are already being dealt with under the new Act.

Free Alcohol to guests at a function

A licence is not required to give away alcohol at a function if there are no ticket sales, donations, koha or social club fees for any person attending the event as this is not “sale and supply.” Note that this applies to any person at the event, not just the person you are giving a free drink to.

BUT    If there are ticket sales, donations, koha or club fees for any person at the event the alcohol is deemed to be sold. This includes sales, donations, koha, social club fees for the event itself rather than just the alcohol and also covers any of these paid in advance, at the time of the function or afterwards. You cannot have these for say the food and then give away the alcohol. You still need a licence if you do this.

As an example if you run a function and invite the elderly or needy from the community to come for a meal for free you can give out a glass of wine or sherry etc and not need a licence. If the event is being run by a Lions Club alcohol must not be given to club members as that would be a sale and supply because club members pay membership fees. A gathering of friends after the event for a few quiet ones would not be a “sale and supply” unless there are payments/donations involved or the alcohol is provided by the Club (deemed to be a sale because of club fees).

Alan Knowsley

MD202 Legal Counsel






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