Alcohol policies

What is a local alcohol policy?

Under the Sale and Supply Alcohol Act 2012, councils can develop local alcohol policies (LAP) to establish local positions on licensing matters such as the location, number and trading hours of licensed premises.

LAPs generally encourage the responsible sale, supply and consumption of alcohol and focus on reducing alcohol-related harm. 

A LAP can influence:

  • 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.

LAPs can also set out conditions that can be applied to alcohol licences to improve industry standards and promote safe and responsible sale and supply of alcohol.

Once in place, the LAP will influence when, where and how alcohol is sold across the region.

Council adopted its provisional LAP in May 2015. Since then, the council has received notice that appeals against the provisional LAP have been lodged with the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) who will be responsible for determining these appeals. 

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

Provisional Local Alcohol Policy

The Provisional Auckland Council LAP was adopted in May 2015, however, it is now subject to appeals so will not come into force until those appeals are resolved.

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) held public hearings to resolve appeals against the Provisional Local Alcohol Policy in February and March 2017. The council is awaiting ARLA's decision.

The Provisional LAP, as notified on 19 May 2015, includes regional policies, as well as some special rules for the City Centre and the Priority Overlay. The Priority Overlay, covers suburbs experiencing higher levels of alcohol-related harm. For the boundaries of these areas, see the Provisional LAP areas page.

Key policies in the Provisional LAP are:

  • opening hours:
    • regional off-licence hours of 9am to 9pm (e.g. bottle stores, supermarkets)
    • regional on-licence hours of 8am to 3am (e.g. bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs)
    • City Centre on-licence hours of 8am to 4am (no change from the national default hours introduced on 18 December 2013)
    • club licence hours of 9am to 1am (e.g. sports clubs), with an allowance for RSAs to open at 5am on ANZAC Day
    • special licence hours to be decided on a case-by-case basis
  • restrictions on the location of new licences:
    • a Local Impacts Report for higher-risk licence applications, which will include reporting on local schools and land uses
    • a two-year freeze on new off-licences in the Priority Overlay and the City Centre
    • a presumption against granting new off-licences in Neighbourhood Centres, and in the Priority Overlay and the City Centre once the freeze expires
  • a Local Impacts Report for the renewal of higher-risk licences in the Priority Overlay to help with setting conditions
  • a range of discretionary conditions able to be applied to licences

 Read the full Provisional LAP and the associated explanatory document here:

Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy (PDF 1.2MB)

Explanatory document (PDF 135KB) 


Development of the Provisional LAP

Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy (PDF 1.2MB) 

The table below summarises the process the council has followed in developing the Provisional LAP.



Initial engagement on issues and options paper and staff position paper

2013 to early 2014

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 LAP adopted by Auckland Council

13 May 2015

Provisional LAP publicly notified

19 May 2015

Appeals can be lodged against Provisional LAP

19 May to 18 June 2015

Appeals heard by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority February and March 2017

Final policy adopted

Once appeals are determined


Email us if you have more detailed enquiries.

Supporting research

The council has completed a significant amount of research in developing the Provisional LAP, including the following. Key documents are available below: 

Local Alcohol Policy Research Report (PDF 1.2MB)
Alcohol Related Harms Research Report (PDF 1.4MB)
Review of Mechanisms to Regulate Supply of Alcohol (PDF 648KB)Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 1 (PDF 2MB)
Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 2 (PDF 712KB)
Economic Impact Assessment - Phase 3 (PDF 754KB)

Council's wider alcohol harm minimisation programme

Development of the local alcohol policy is just one part of the council's wider programme of work on alcohol. Other key pieces of work include:

  • implementation of the Auckland Council Whānau Internal Strategy to Minimise Alcohol-Related Harm 2016
  • review of alcohol bylaws and alcohol bans.


Auckland Council Whānau Internal Strategy to Minimise Alcohol-Related Harm 2016

In August 2016, the Auckland Council Whānau Internal Strategy to Minimise Alcohol-Related Harm 2016 was adopted.

This is an in internal strategy to guide Auckland Council whānau staff to deliver a coordinated, consistent and systematic approach to minimise alcohol-related harm.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy (PDF 1.7MB)

Alcohol bans

The council adopted the Alcohol Control bylaw in 2014. The bylaw provides a single Auckland-wide approach for introducing alcohol bans (liquor bans).

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

View more information about Alcohol bans

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