Liquor Licence Fees

Liquor Licensing

In 2013 the Ministry of Justice introduced a new fee structure. The new fee structure was designed to:

  • Recover the total costs of the licensing system
  • Allocate costs more fairly across the sector, so that those operations creating higher costs pay a greater share of fees
  • Provide territorial authorities (TA's) with flexibility to respond to local conditions
  • Establish fair and pragmatic transitional arrangements, and
  • Minimize alcohol-related harm to the extent that is possible and reasonable through a cost-recovery fee regime

Definitions for the Clubs and Restaurant classes are:

Clubs Class 1 Clubs which, in the opinion of the TA, are large clubs (with 1,000 or more members of drinking age) and which, in the opinion of the relevant TA, operate in the nature of a tavern (for example a large working men's club, combined clubs or large 'cossie' clubs)
Class 2 Clubs which do not fit class 1 or class 3 definitions (for example larger sports clubs, medium sized RSAs, many provincial social clubs)
Class 3 Clubs which, in the opinion of the TA, are small clubs (with up to 250 members of drinking Age) and which operate a bar for 40 hours or less per week (for example small sports clubs like bowling clubs, golf clubs, bridge clubs, and small RSAs)
Restaurants Class 1 Restaurants with a significant separate bar area which, in the opinion of the relevant TA, operate that bar at least one night a week in the nature of a tavern, such as serving alcohol without meals to tables situated in the bar area
Class 2 Restaurants that have a separate bar (which may include a small bar area) but which, in the opinion of the relevant TA, do not operate that area in the nature of a tavern at any time.
Class 3 Restaurants that only serve alcohol to the table and do not have a separate bar area.

Default fees apply to on-, off- and club licences.

The default fees consist of:

  • An application fee which licensees will have to pay when they apply for a new, renewed, or variation to a licence; and
  • An annual fee which must be paid by licensees each year. This fee must be paid within 30 days after the day on which it is due. Failure to pay the annual fee within 31 days after the day on which it is due will result in an automatic suspension of the licence until such time as it is paid.

The amount that businesses pay depends on the "cost/risk rating" of each premises. Low risk outlets with low licensing administration costs (such as winery cellar door sales and small clubs) will pay lower fees. Higher risk outlets that typically create higher costs (such as bottle stores, nightclubs  and taverns) will pay more.

The licensing system has five fee categories, which reflect the range of cost/risk ratings.

Total Weighting Cost/risk & fee Category
0-2 Very Low
3-5 Low
6-15 Medium
16-25 High
26+ Very High

If you have any questions regarding the fees structure, please contact any of the Liquor Licensing Unit on (03) 687 7200.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021