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Apply for an Alcohol Licence (on, off or club)

To apply for an on, off or club alcohol licence follow these steps:

1. Check what type of licence you need (on, off or club).

Before you can sell or supply alcohol, you need to make sure you have the right alcohol licence.

  • On-licence for sale or supply of alcohol to be consumed on your premises (e.g. bar, restaurant).
  • Off-licence for sale or supply of alcohol to be consumed away from the place of purchase (e.g. bottle store, grocery store).
  • Club licence for sale or supply of alcohol at your club for consumption on site by club members and their guests (e.g. sports club, RSA).

2. Check if you can sell alcohol in your area.

This can be a complicated process to research yourself.  It’s best to call us on 06 370 6300 and ask for the planning team to check if you can open an alcohol business in your area.

3. Get your alcohol licence, building, and planning certificates

Before you apply for a new alcohol licence, make sure the building complies with all the building and planning requirements.

Your proposed business location has to comply with the district plan. If it doesn’t, you will need a resource consent and you need to get this before you build or operate your business. If you think your business does comply with the district plan, you can get confirmation of this from Council. Check our website for more information about district plans, resource consents and certificates of compliance, or call us to talk to a planner.

Your premises also has to comply with the Building Act 2004. You might need a building consent before you start any construction, renovation or a ‘change of use’.

4. Gather information needed for your application

The application form will have a checklist of everything that you will need to include. We’re happy to check your application before you submit us, just get in touch with our team to make an appointment.

5. Calculate your fee

You will pay a non-refundable fee with your application. There is information on the application form to help you calculate your fee.

6. Apply and submit your application – in person or by post

It takes a minimum of 6–8 weeks to process an application.

You can pick up an application form from council or download the form from the related resources sidebar.

You can drop off your application at our front desk and pay by cash, eftpos, or credit card. 

Post to: Masterton District Council, PO Box 444, Masterton 5810

We will process your application and contact you with the decision. If there are any issues, we’ll let you know. If an application is incomplete, we will return it with a request for the other information we need.

7. Publish a public notice

After you lodge your application, you’ll need to notify the public. You’ll be given more information when you make your application. Public notices have to be displayed on the premises and in a local newspaper.

8. Accessing and processing your application

Your application will be reviewed by:

  • NZ Police
  • Regional Public Health
  • One of our alcohol licensing inspectors

We will also visit your premises and review your host responsibility arrangements. The District Licensing Committee will then review your application and make a final decision.

Further Information

If you’re applying for an on-licence or off-licence, you must have a certified manager on duty at all times when alcohol is being sold. For an on-licence or club licence, you will need to supply food for customers. This means that you will also need a food premises registration.

If your application is granted

If the District Licensing Committee approves your application, you’ll need to pay an annual fee (if you haven’t done this already) before we post your alcohol licence to you. Your new licence lasts for one year.

You will need to:

  • Apply to renew before the expiry date.
  • Display a copy of your licence in a visible location near the main entrance of your premises.
  • Pay an annual fee on the anniversary of your licence, we will send you a reminder letter.
  • After your first renewal, you’ll need to renew your licence every three years, before the expiry date.

If your application is contested

We will let you know if:


  • Members of the public object to your application.
  • NZ Police, Regional Public Health or our inspector oppose your application.
  • If you need to attend a public hearing before a final decision is made.
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