Alcohol licences

If you want to sell or supply alcohol in Palmerston North, you must have a current alcohol licence.

On these pages you can find out all about alcohol licensing in Palmy, including:
  • what type of alcohol licence you need for your business and how to apply
  • your responsibilities as a licensee
  • how to renew your licence or vary its conditions
  • manager's certificates – why you need one and how to get it
  • which businesses have applied for licences and how to object
  • who's been granted a licence or manager's certificate.

Please note, Wednesday 15 November is the last day to submit an application for a licence to be issued before Christmas. Alcohol licences for applications submitted after this date will not be issued until after 15 January 2024.



If you're a licensee of a venue where alcohol is sold and supplied, you need to know about the alcohol laws and regulations. On this page you can also find information about objecting to an alcohol licence before it's granted, and how to make a complaint about an existing licence.

Extended trading hours for Rugby World Cup 2023

If you're a club licence or on-licence holder, you'll be able to extend your permitted trading hours if you intend to televise the games.

You'll still need to give notice to Police and the Council.

Find out more

Alcohol licence applications and the process

You must have the correct licences to sell and supply alcohol.

Each licence has its own application form, a non-refundable fee and documentation requirements. Applications for a licence must be made to the Palmerston North District Licensing Committee (DLC) on the appropriate form with supporting information.

Alcohol licence application forms

Each form includes comprehensive information about the application process and any supporting information you need to provide, as well as a handy checklist so you can ensure you've got everything you need to apply.

Once you've completed the application form, contact a licensing inspector on 06 356 8199 to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting. Your application won't be accepted without this. 

Once lodged, applications are forwarded to the Police and the Medical Officer of Health who then forwards a report to the DLC. All applications are required to be publicly notified.

The licensing inspector then writes a report and forwards it, along with the other reports, to the DLC. The DLC decides whether to approve the application.

The DLC will issue a licence if no objections are received. Otherwise the application will go to a hearing.

If you have convictions

You can discuss any potential impact on your application with a licensing inspector to see if it is likely that your application may be opposed. This will give you a reasonable indication before you apply and pay the fee.

Alcohol licence application fees

Delays processing applications

We're sorry. We currently have a backlog of alcohol licence applications which we're unable to progress due to circumstances outside our control. 

The public health response to Covid-19 has impacted on the team at Te Whatu Ora who assess them. This situation has continued into 2023.

If you're thinking of applying for a new licence, please be aware that it could take some time.

Types of alcohol licences

An alcohol licence is specific to the licensee and the premises. If the licensee moves their business to other premises they need to apply for a new licence for the new premises. If the owner of the business changes, the new owner needs to apply for a new licence.


An on-licence allows you to sell and supply alcohol for consumption on these types of premises:

  • restaurant
  • café
  • hotel
  • tavern
  • nightclub,
  • BYO premises
  • caterers.


An off-licence allows you to sell, supply or deliver alcohol for consumption (not serve it) off the premises such as:

  • bottle stores
  • wine shops
  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores
  • through internet distribution 
  • auctioneer.

Club licence

A club licence enables social, sport and corporate clubs to sell, supply and serve alcohol for consumption on club premises to club members, authorised guests and visitors. 

All clubs must:

  • be incorporated
  • have an appointed duty manager who is responsible for the sale and supply of alcohol
  • have a secretary, and
  • proceeds from the sale of alcohol must belong to the club.

Special licence (on/off)

With a special licence you can sell and supply alcohol for a specific occasion or event, such as:

  • sporting event
  • wine tasting
  • bus trip
  • party where alcohol is being sold
  • public party where alcohol is being sold and supplied
  • party on leased premises where alcohol is being sold and supplied
  • event where tickets are being sold.

Temporary authority

If you buy an existing licensed premises and wish to continue selling alcohol, you need to apply for a temporary authority to operate until your own licence has been granted. A temporary authority is valid for up to 3 months and will only be issued if the existing licence for the premises is still current. You need to apply for the temporary authority at least 20 working days before the takeover date. Temporary authorities can't be granted to club licensed premises.

Manager's certificate (new and renewal)

Someone holding a manager's certificate must be on duty at all times alcohol is being sold and supplied on licensed premises. The manager is responsible for compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act and the conditions of the licence.

If it is a club licence, a certified manager isn't required to be on site, but must be easily contactable at all times.

New manager's certificate

You must be over the age of 20 before you can apply for a manager's certificate. You also need to be currently working in licensed premises and have a minimum of five months' recent experience working in licensed premises.

You'll need to provide the following with your application:

  • a copy of your licence controller qualification (LCQ)
  • a photocopy of your ID (photo driver's licence or passport or Hospitality New Zealand 18+ card)
  • a reference from your current employer supporting your application and confirming your suitability to be a certified manager
  • a character reference attesting to your character and reputation

Apply for a manager's certificate

How to get a licence controller qualification

A licence controller qualification (LCQ) is a prescribed qualification referred to in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 that demonstrates you've had relevant training. All applicants for a manager's certificate are required to hold an LCQ certificate. Contact one of the following approved course providers:

Renewing your manager's certificate

A manager's certificate lasts one year from the date of issue for the first application and three years after that. If you let the certificate expire you'll need to apply for a new manager's certificate. It is your responsibility to ensure you renew your certificate on time. The process is the same as for filing a new manager's certificate application.

Council sends out renewal applications about six weeks before your certificate expires. Please make sure you let us know if you change your address.

You can also download a renewal form.

Complete the renewal form and contact an inspector to arrange a pre-lodgement check. Your application won't be accepted without an appointment with an inspector.

You must provide the following with your application:

  • a copy of your licence controller qualification
  • a photocopy of your ID (photo driver's licence or passport or Hospitality New Zealand 18+ card)
  • if your manager's certificate wasn't issued in Palmerston North, submit a copy of your manager's certificate or most recent renewal.

Building and planning compliance

For a new on-licence, off-licence or club licence, you also need to apply for both of the certificates below. The licensing officer will file the certificate of compliance on your behalf.

Town Planning Certificate

This certificate is required to ensure that the premises comply with Resource Management Act and District Plan requirements.

Once the application is received it takes approximately 20 working days to process.

Fee for Town Planning Certificate (Alcohol): $400

Town Planning Certificate Application Form(PDF, 199KB)         

Certificate of Compliance (Building)

This compliance certificate is required to ensure that the premises comply with the Building Code.

Fee for Certificate of Compliance (Building - Alcohol): $109 deposit then billed at actual cost of officer's time per hour 

How to object to an alcohol licence

You can only object to a licence being granted or renewed if you're deemed to have a "greater interest" than the general public. For example, if you live in the same street as the licensed premises, or operate a business in the street.

Someone who is concerned about the effects of alcohol on the community but lives in a different area may not meet the greater interest criteria.

Criteria for objecting

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act lists the following criteria as the only grounds for objecting to an application for an alcohol licence:

  • suitability of the applicant
  • any relevant local alcohol policy
  • days and hours when alcohol will be sold
  • the design and layout of any proposed premises
  • whether the applicant is engaged in, or proposes to engage on the premises in, the sale of goods other than alcohol, low-alcohol refreshments, non-alcoholic refreshments and food; and if so, which goods
  • whether the applicant is engaged in, or proposes on the premises to engage in, the provision of services other than those directly related to the sale of alcohol, low-alcohol refreshments, non-alcoholic refreshments and food; and if so, which services
  • whether the amenity and good order of the locality would likely be reduced, to more than a minor extent, by the effects of the issue of the licence
  • whether the amenity and good order of the locality are already so badly affected by existing licences that it is not desirable to issue any further licences
  • whether the applicant has appropriate systems, staff and training to comply with the law.

Trade-related objections from other licensed premises are not valid grounds for objection under the Act.

For more information see the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (external site)

Make an objection

If you'd like to object to a new or renewed alcohol licence, you'll need to write to the District Licensing Committee with your reasons. Make sure you refer to relevant criteria and include your full name, address and contact phone number.

File your objection with the committee within 15 working days of the first public notice announcing an application has been made, by sending your letter to:

The Secretary
District Licensing Committee
Palmerston North City Council
Private Bag 11034
Palmerston North

What happens next?

When the committee receives your objection, they will send you an acknowledgement letter, and send the applicant a copy of your objection.

If the committee believes your objection meets the criteria of section 105 of the Act, they will notify all involved parties of a date and time for a hearing.

You can choose not to attend the hearing, but your objection will be stronger if you attend and speak in support of your submission.

How to make a complaint about existing licensed premises

To make a complaint about existing licensed premises or the terms of a licence, contact a licensing inspector with details about your concerns: email or call 06 356 8199