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Write a host responsibility policy for your on-licence business or club

Be a responsible host

All alcohol on-licence and club licence businesses must submit a host responsibility policy with any application for a new or renewed alcohol licence.

This helps the District Licensing Committee (DLC) when it considers an application for new or renewed licences.

The policy should address:

  • staff and manager training
  • transport options
  • how the premises will maintain the amenity and good order of the venue's locality
  • how the applicant will deal with minors and intoxication
  • how food, low and non-alcoholic beverages will be promoted and served on the premises.

If a premises runs large events or gatherings, the policy should also detail how the applicant will minimise the potential for alcohol-related harm.

Details to include in your policy



Your policy should detail how you will ensure all your staff are trained on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in relation to intoxicated patrons.

Questions you should answer include:

  • Who will carry out the training and what records will be kept?
  • What instructions will you give to staff to make sure they know how to identify and proactively deal with potentially intoxicated persons?


Your policy needs to explain how you will ensure that all staff are trained on their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 in relation to minors.

You need to include:

  • who will carry out the training and what records will be kept
  • tools you have provided to your staff to accurately work out the age of customers from their date of birth on their identification (ID), such as the Birth date identifier
  • instructions you will give staff to ensure they know how to identify and proactively deal with minors.

Preventing and dealing with intoxication

All staff must be trained in their responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to prevent intoxication on licensed business sites.

Staff need clear instructions to identify and proactively deal with intoxicated persons.

Noticing signs of intoxication early is essential to meeting the requirements of sections 248 and 249 of the act.

Your policy should detail what strategies you will have in place to deal with potentially intoxicated people, such as:

  • providing free soft drinks, tea and coffee
  • things you will do to slow down their drinking
  • tools you have provided your staff to assess intoxication, such as the Intoxication assessment tool
  • details of who has the authority to ask patrons to leave
  • steps you will take to check for intoxicated patrons on your premises. For example, staff regularly circulating the premises, including the toilets, to check for intoxicated patrons.

Serving food

The act requires you to always have a reasonable range of food available when your business is open and sells alcohol.

Restaurants must always have meals available.

There is an expectation that food options will be promoted within the premises.

Things to consider are:

  • Do you have signage promoting food, which is clear and well positioned?
  • How will you ensure staff are always aware of the food options (menu) available?
  • Do you have a minimum of three different, substantial food options available at all times?

The range and style of food must be similar in style and nature to the menu you supplied with your licence application.

A reasonable range is a minimum of three food options, such as:

  • pies
  • sandwiches
  • filled rolls
  • pizzas
  • paninis.

Your three food options cannot include snack foods like potato crisps and nuts. 

Non-alcoholic beverages

The act requires a reasonable range of non-alcoholic refreshments to always be available when the business is open for the sale of alcohol. You must describe the type and range of non-alcoholic beverages available.

You must state in your policy how these non-alcoholic alternatives are promoted. For example, will there be signage or will options be featured in the beverage menu?

Low-alcohol beverages

The act requires that low-alcohol refreshments are always available when the business is open for the sale of alcohol.

Your policy must state how these low-alcohol alternatives are promoted - signage, featured in the beverage menu, etc.

Include a description of the low-alcohol refreshments you will have available (e.g. beer).


  • What will you do to ensure that you have enough managers to cover the hours of business you are open?
  • Managers should not be rostered to work for excessive hours and you must comply with New Zealand employment laws.

For more information, see Hours of work.

Safe transport options

You need to provide help with and information about alternative forms of transport from your business for patrons.

You should include how:

  • you will make sure there is always free, comprehensive and accurate information about the forms of transport from the premises.
  • that information will be available in a readable form - either a poster, brochure or handout.
  • you make sure all staff are aware of transport options information so that staff can give that information to customers if requested.

Alcohol promotions

The act creates offences and penalties for promotions or activities deemed to be irresponsible.

When you need to promote your licensed premises, take care not to hold promotions that conflict with the act.

You need to commit to not having promotions or staff members that encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol or drinking to excess.

Safe environments and being a good neighbour

Part of being a good licensee involves maintaining a safe environment and being a good neighbour.

Noise, litter, anti-social behaviour, and congestion around licensed premises can detract from amenity and good order and cause concerns for the community.

They can also impact on a licensee’s suitability. As a licensee, you have a responsibility to prevent your business causing anti-social behaviour in and around your premises.

You need to:

  • ensure empty glasses and bottles are cleared promptly
  • not tolerate disorderly or offensive behaviour on the premises
  • regularly check to ensure the toilet facilities in taverns, function centres, nightclubs and adult entertainment premises are kept clean, safe and available
  • manage noise so as not to disturb neighbours
  • keep doors and windows shut as much as possible to reduce the noise from the premises
  • remind customers using external areas to be considerate of neighbours
  • make sure bottles are not emptied into outside rubbish bins at a time that could annoy neighbours
  • keep the outside of your premises clean and tidy and free from graffiti.

Clubs and customers

For clubs, your policy should set out how the club will ensure that only club members, their accompanied guests, and members of clubs with reciprocal visiting rights are sold or supplied alcohol.

Writing your own policy

You must answer every question in the template.

This is so the District Licensing Committee (DLC) knows how your business will operate.

The level of detail needed to answer each question may differ depending on the type of business.

Get a copy of the host responsibility policy template

​More information

For more information, see Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

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