Ensuring premises selling alcohol meet liquor licensing requirements

Medical Officers of Health are required to report on all applications for:

  • On Licences (e.g. pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars),
  • Off Licences (e.g. supermarkets, bottle stores, wineries),
  • Club Licences (e.g. sports clubs, RSAs, working men’s clubs) and
  • Special Licences (short term licenses for particular events or series of events on premises/ locations normally unlicensed, or to alter the conditions of a licenses to allow for particular events).

Staff from Community and Public Health carry out investigations primarily focused on the suitability of the applicant especially their focus on preventing alcohol related harm (host responsibility).

As part of the investigations, staff collaborate with Police Licensing staff and Licensing Inspectors from the Territorial Local Authorities to carry out monitoring of premises and Controlled Purchase Operations.

Controlled Purchase Operations involve testing licensees procedures to ensure minors are not supplied with alcohol and also to ensure that Licensees meet their legal requirements relating to the promotion and availability of appropriate food.

Staff from Community and Public Health are involved in Licensed Controller Qualification Training (a requirement for a General or Club Manager’s Certificate) as well as working with Licensees and Duty Managers to provide on-site training Host Responsibility training for all premises staff.

Alcohol is no ordinary commodity – it’s official!

Bottles of wine on shelves in a bottle-store.Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Alistair Humphrey, has triumphed in a landmark case in the Court of Appeal, which means supermarkets can only display alcohol in separate designated areas, away from checkouts and entrances.

It follows Dr Humphrey’s successful appeal at the High Court in November 2015 which overturned a decision by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority permitting Bishopdale New World supermarket to display alcohol at the end of supermarket aisles, reversing an earlier decision by the Christchurch District Licensing Committee.

Foodstuffs appealed the High Court decision in the Court of Appeal, but the Court of Appeal agreed with Justice Gendall’s earlier decision and dismissed Foodstuff’s’ argument.

Dr Humphrey says he’s incredibly proud of the “David versus Goliath win”, and very grateful for the support he’s received from the Canterbury District Health Board, Medical Officers of Health and public health units around the country in standing up for what is right when it comes to reducing alcohol related harm.

“This decision means that we will be able to choose when and where we buy our alcohol, instead of having it in our faces whenever we are doing our grocery shopping,”  Dr Humphrey says.

“The Court of Appeal’s ruling sets a legal precedent – supermarkets in NZ will need to consider the design of their stores carefully before applying for off licences.”



Contact your local CPH office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Order Alcohol signage for bars, restaurants and sports clubs


Signage is available from the Community Health Information Centre.

The Law: We can't service or allow intoxicated people on our premises (DRU0157).

Page last updated: 28/03/2017

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