Navigating the council's role in liquor licensing

Rob Abbott, Auckland Council Manager Alcohol Licensing, responds to the New Zealand Herald editorial 'Liquor rules work against the cause'.

Publish Date : 02 Aug 2016

Auckland Council does not set the fees charged for alcohol licence and certificate applications.

All fees related to the sale and supply of alcohol have been set by the Government, working on the principle that the applicants should bear the majority of the costs themselves, rather than ratepayers. These fees are charged by every council in New Zealand.

Encouraging proper licensing

As many applicants can attest, especially those seeking licences for special events, the council does give a reduction in application fees in certain circumstances.

In fact, we have given charter boats applying for a new licence a discount on the application fee to encourage them to become properly licensed.

Behaviour an ongoing concern

Charter boats have been a concern to the police and the council for at least three years because of the drunken behaviour of patrons permitted by some unlicensed charter boats.

The scenes of patrons leaving these boats at Z-Pier after a trip are not a pretty sight, as the police can confirm, and has obviously been witnessed by owners of nearby establishments.

Legislation not new

Auckland Council does not set who should and should not be licensed to sell and allow the consumption of alcohol.  We are no different to every other council in New Zealand, and are obligated to follow legislation set out by Parliament.

Charter boats have always been required to be licensed if they are selling or allowing the consumption of alcohol, and Parliament did not see fit to change the law when the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act was passed in 2012.

Reducing alcohol-related harm

One of the objectives of the 2012 Act is the reduction of alcohol-related harm.

Ensuring that charter boats are correctly licensed will go some way towards reducing the harm evident from the intoxicated patrons of some charter boats at Z-Pier and in the downtown CBD.

Boats as quayside bars?

None of the charter boat operators we have spoken to are interested in becoming floating quayside bars, and neither would they be permitted to by their licence.

Back to News