This page explains what a Special Licence under the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 is and how it may be used.
Special Licences are for specific events only
A Special Licence authorises the holder to sell and supply liquor on the premises or conveyances named in the licence to any person or persons attending any occasion or event or series of occasions or events approved by the licence.
The activity for which the licence is granted must be a clearly identifiable special or "one off" type of function or event.
A Special Licence may be granted for buildings, marquees, clearly defined open areas or conveyances i.e. bus, train or boat or aircraft. Note: It is an offence to sell, supply or consume liquor on a bus on any road unless you have a Special Licence.
The Special Licence may be issued for one or multiple events or occasions up to a maximum of twelve in any twelve-month period.
They are not transferable from one person, premises or conveyance to another.
Special Licences are not an alternative to a substantive licence
A substantive licence is an On, Off or Club Licence issued for specific premises under the legislation. A Special Licence cannot be used either as an alternative to obtaining a substantive licence or extending existing licensed hours other than for the one-off special occasion.
A Special Licence may be granted for an unlicensed premises temporarily used as a licensed premises for the event or events for which the licence is being sought.
A Special Licence is required when a licensed club premises are used solely as a venue where the function organiser (Special Licence holder) and not the club, supplies all liquor for the event.
BYO events require a Special Licence
A Special License is required for BYO (Bring Your Own) functions or events where guests bring their own liquor on to premises for consumption there at any event where entry is by payment, ie. by pre-paid ticket, pay at the door or by token or other form of exchange.
It is recommended the quantity and type of liquor that may be taken onto the premises be controlled to avoid later problems. The restrictions must be brought to the notice of the guests before the function is held.
The District Licensing Agency may include restrictions in the Special Licence.
Events held in Council halls or venues require a Special Licence
If you are holding any function or event in a Council hall or other venue, you must obtain a Special Licence as part of your hall or venue rental.
Food must be available at all licensed events
You are required to have food available at all Special Licence functions or events.
The food must be prepared in a registered kitchen.
A menu of the food to be available at your function or event must be provided with your Special Licence application.
There are restrictions on who may apply for a licence
The persons and organisations that may be granted a Special licence are listed in Section 75 of the Sale of Liquor Act 1989.
The applicant for a Special Licence must be the person responsible for organising and controlling the function events for which the licence is being sought.
Licence applicants must be the person who will be responsible for organising and controlling the function or events for which the licence is being sought.
Licensed events must be managed by a Certificated Manager
The person to whom a licence is issued must be present on the premises for the duration of the function licensed.
A person with a current General or Club Manager's Certificate (as appropriate for the premises licensed) must supervise Special Licence premises.
Make your licence application to Council’s District Licensing Agency
Submit your Special Licence application to Council's Customer Services Centre not less than 15 clear working days before the date on which the licence is required.
Where the application is being made for a conveyance i.e., bus or boat you must file it with the Council in which the bus or boat's home base is located.
Applications are to be submitted in triplicate i.e., the completed and signed original application form and two copies of the application and all supporting documents.
The District Licensing Agency will check your application to ensure all information required has been provided.
An incomplete application will be returned for completion.
The fee is required to accompany the application (see the Liquor Licensing Fees link below).
A copy of the application may be forwarded to the Police for their report and comments.
Applications may be required to be publicly notified
Depending on the purpose for which you require the Special Licence the District Licensing Agency may at its discretion, require you to publicly notify your application.
You are responsible for arranging public notification by the specified date. After the notice has been published you must supply a copy to the District Licensing Agency.
A hearing will be held where objections are received.
Where an objection is received and the issue or issues raised by the objector cannot be resolved a District Licensing Agency hearing will be convened to decide the matter.
The licence will be issued if there are no objections
If there are no objections to the application the District Licensing Agency may grant and issue the licence.
It will be mailed out to you unless other collection arrangements have been made.
Links to more liquor licensing information
Porirua City Council links: