Alcohol policies

What is a local alcohol policy?

The Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) helps to encourage the responsible sale, supply and consumption of alcohol and focuses on reducing alcohol-related harm. In doing so, the LAP helps to create environments across the Auckland region that are safer and more exciting for everyone to enjoy.

The policy can control:

  • where new alcohol licences are allowed to establish
  • how many new alcohol licences are allowed
  • when bars, restaurants and nightclubs can be open
  • when bottle shops and supermarkets can sell alcohol
  • when clubs (e.g. sports clubs, RSAs) can sell alcohol.

It can also set out conditions that can be applied to alcohol licences to improve standards across Auckland.

Once adopted, the policy will need to be considered by the District Licensing Committee (DLC) and the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) when they make decisions on new licence applications. The LAP will also have some effect on existing licences.

Development of the LAP

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act ("the act") legislates and empowers local councils to implement new alcohol licensing laws and develop a local alcohol policy (LAP) for their region.

A LAP may include policies:

  • limiting the location and/or number of licensed premises, including factors such as proximity to certain activities and facilities
  • restricting or extending maximum opening hours where alcohol is available
  • imposing conditions for the issuing of licenses, such as a one-way door policy, that would stop patrons entering a licensed bar or club after a certain time.

Within the policy there can be local variation to reflect specific issues for specific parts of the community.

We have spent many months developing a LAP which will govern the sale, supply, or consumption of alcohol within our region and on 13 May 2015, our Regional Strategy and Policy Committee adopted the provisional LAP for Auckland Council.

Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy (PDF 1.2MB) 



Political approval to release the draft LAP for consultation

13 May 2014

Public submissions received

16 June to 16 July 2014


August to November 2014

Public submissions discussed at deliberations

19 and 20 March 2015

Provisional policy adopted by Auckland Council

13 May 2015

Provisional policy can be appealed

19 May to 18 June 2015

Final policy adopted

If no appeals are received: 19 June 2015
If appeals are received: once those appeals are resolved


Email us if you have more detailed enquiries.

Issues and options paper

We released an issues and options paper (PDF 146KB) in June 2013. This paper outlines key issues associated with the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in Auckland and provides preliminary policy options for the Draft Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy.

We used the issues and options paper to start a discussion with internal, external and political stakeholders.

Our staff also met with representatives from various community groups to discuss the policy issues and options.

Preferred position paper

In September 2013, we released a preferred position (PDF 114KB) which was developed from initial engagement with stakeholders, as well as research and evidence.

The document presented the preferred position our staff recommend to be included in the draft LAP. It does not represent our policy and no final policy decisions have yet been made.

This document formed the basis of further discussion with stakeholders and Aucklanders, before we develop the draft LAP.

Draft Local Alcohol Policy

The draft LAP was approved for consultation in May last year, and public submissions were received in June and July of 2014.

During the consultation period Auckland Council received close to 2700 written submissions and the Hearings Panel heard oral submissions from over 115 individuals and organisations.

You can still read the full draft LAP below:

Statement of Proposal (PDF 4.5MB)

For more information on the hearings that took place, please see the hearings page.

Other changes

Development of the local alcohol policy and the implementation of a new liquor licensing system are two components of our wider programme on alcohol, which also includes:

  • development of an alcohol harm reduction strategy
  • review of liquor bylaws and liquor bans.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy

The strategy aims to create ‘A safe and healthy city where there is minimal risk of harm to Auckland communities from alcohol-related activities’.

The strategy addresses how our alcohol harm reduction activities link into the strategic direction of the Auckland Plan. It discusses the intended impacts of these activities to ensure consistency in work related to alcohol and alcohol-related harm.

The council adopted the strategy in June 2012.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy (PDF 1.7MB)

Alcohol control policy and bylaw (liquor bans)

The alcohol control bylaw, adopted in 2014, provides a single Auckland-wide approach for introducing alcohol controls (liquor bans).

Local boards are currently reviewing specific alcohol bans in their area.

Interim process

We have an interim process for receiving, processing and implementing liquor ban requests while we are developing the new policy and bylaw. It works within existing bylaws while ensuring consistency across the region.

View more information about Alcohol bans.

Supporting research

In 2012 we carried out research in preparation for the policy’s development. That research included:

  • a review of selected professional and academic literature on alcohol consumption and alcohol related issues
  • an overview of Auckland’s demographic profile, as well as information about the people who visit Auckland as tourists or holidaymakers
  • a review of the objectives and policies of our seven operative district plans (the district plans), and a summary of the key alcohol-related issues being considered as part of the development of Auckland’s new unitary plan
  • analysis of the number, location and trading hours of Auckland’s licensed premises
  • information about our alcohol bans and analysis of the issues associated with the consumption of alcohol in public places
  • a section on the overall health indicators of Auckland.

The following reports were published in response to this research:

Local Alcohol Policy Research Report (PDF 1.2MB)
Alcohol Related Harms Research Report (PDF 1.4MB)

In 2013, research was undertaken which looked at existing professional and academic literature on the relationship between alcohol availability and the incidence of alcohol-related harms, as well as the effectiveness of different policy mechanisms in regulating availability and reducing harms.

Review of Mechanisms to Regulate Supply of Alcohol (PDF 648KB)

In 2013, additional research on the economic impacts of late night trading in Auckland and how much Auckland residents spend on alcohol was commissioned. The following reports detail the findings of this research:

Restriction on Hours of Trade for Alcohol Licensees in Auckland:
Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 1 (PDF 2MB)
Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 2 (PDF 712KB)
Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 3 (PDF 754KB)

Further enquiries

For more information about the act, refer to the Ministry of Justice website.

You can also read Auckland Council’s submission on the Alcohol Reform Bill. 

Alcohol Reform Bill (PDF 268KB)


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