Members of the public can object to an application for an alcohol licence in some cases. Your objection must be in writing and must be sent to the Council’s Alcohol Licensing Team within 15 working days after the date of the first public notice.
You have 'greater interest' in the licence application if you are likely to be more directly affected by the licence than most other people. This is called having status or standing. For example, if you live in the same street as the proposed premises you could be in a position of greater interest, compared with someone who lives 10km away and has concerns about the effects of alcohol on the community.
Your objections must relate to matters listed in Section 105(external link) of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. You must make specific reference to these matters in your letter for your objection to be valid.
The Act defines good order and amenity as 'pleasant and agreeable'. Section 106(external link) can also help us understand what good order and amenity covers.
Your letter of objection must include:
You can find more detailed information about the 'who' and 'what' and 'how' for Objections on the Health Promotion Agency website (external link)including a useful guide to objections and hearings.
Note: You will have the opportunity to provide more detailed information about your objection and evidence of your concerns before the public hearing and at the hearing.
Some residents or community groups use petitions to get support against an application. Others use a template objection letter that they give to people to complete and send in.
While these can be an effective way to boost numbers of objectors, they can also result in duplicate or illegible signatures or objections.
Petitions or template objection letters must include:
Objections can be submitted by post, email, fax or in person:
Note: Once a public objection has been filed, any public objector may also approach and speak to their Community Board to ask the Board to speak in support of their public objection and community concerns about the alcohol licence at the District Licensing Committee (DLC) hearing.
The Alcohol Licensing Team must send a copy of all objections to the alcohol licence applicant. Applicants are allowed to know the basis of any objections so they can decide whether to change their proposal, continue with their application or prepare a response to the objections.
Some applicants may invite objectors or members of the public to a meeting to discuss the concerns raised. The reporting officers (Licensing Inspector, Police, and Medical Officer of Health officers) will also be provided a copy of all objections.
Objections or objector contact details will not be published or advertised. However, if you wish to appear and be heard at a public hearing then your name and the nature of your objections do become a matter of public record.
When we receive your objection we will send you an acknowledgement, provided you supplied a readable name and address (email is the preferred mode of communication if one is provided by you). Your objection will also be sent to the alcohol licence applicant.
We assess your objection to make sure it meets the criteria for consideration:
Once all statutory reporting agencies have reported, the licence application file will be forwarded to the Hearings Advisor for the DLC for a decision, along with all objections received. The application and objections will then be considered at a public hearing.
When a hearing date has been set the Hearings Team will write to all those involved advising the hearing date, time and location and procedure for disclosure of evidence and submissions.
Note: email is the preferred mode of communication for hearings notices. The notice of hearing must be sent a minimum of 10 working days before the date of the hearing. If your objection is in the form of a petition, they will contact the spokesperson. Hearing dates are publicly available leading up to the hearing date on the Council webpage.
The DLC is a tribunal. The hearing is a legal process similar to a court hearing with a Chairperson or Commissioner and a panel of appointed members.
Please note: Refer to Christchurch District Licensing Committees for further information on the structure of the committees, hearings dates, and their recent decisions.
At the beginning of the hearing, the Committee Advisor will ask all people who wish to have their say to complete an appearance slip. It is not compulsory for public objectors to attend or speak at the hearing however the judge may give more weight to an objection if the objector attends the hearing to speak about their concerns. You become a full party to the hearing proceedings if you attend in person.
The Community Board for the area in which the application has been made may also seek leave from the DLC Chair to appear and be heard at the hearing. The Community Board has a delegation from the Council to appear on the Council's behalf under section 202(4)(b). This section says that with the leave of the DLC Chair a person authorised in that behalf by the Council may appear and be heard, whether personally or by counsel, in the proceedings. In practice, the Community Board usually only exercises this right where there are public objections and an objector has asked the Community Board to speak at the hearing. The Community Board does not become a party to the proceedings by exercising this right.
The DLC Chair will open the hearing proceedings. Next, the alcohol licence applicant or the applicant's solicitor will state their case, giving evidence and calling witnesses in support of the application. Then each of the statutory reporting agencies (Police and the Licensing Inspector and Medical Officer of Health’s representative who have each reported on the application) present, may give evidence, present any matters of opposition and may call witnesses. They also have a role to assist the Committee at hearing by providing procedural or factual clarification information if needed.
Finally, the public objectors have their say. This will involve each objector outlining their concerns followed by an opportunity for the applicant, the Police, the Licensing Inspector, Medical Officer of Health’s representative and the DLC members to ask questions of the objector.
When the hearing is finished, the DLC will reserve it's decision. This means it will meet after the hearing to consider the material presented at the hearing and write the decision. All DLC decisions must be given in writing.
It may take up to six weeks for the decision to be issued. If you speak at the hearing you will be sent a copy of the decision. All DLC decisions are also posted on this website.
If you have any questions about the hearings process please contact the Hearings Advisor by email DLC-AlcoholLicensing@ccc.govt.nz or phone 03 941 8999.