Hospitality and liquor law

Buddle Findlay assists a wide range of organisations in the hospitality industry to negotiate the various pitfalls in New Zealand's liquor licensing law, keeping them informed as legislation changes, and advising on other hospitality-related issues.


There have been significant changes in the hospitality industry in New Zealand over the last few years, including changes to the way that liquor licensing is enforced.  Major reforms were introduced in 2012 which have progressively taken effect with the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Our team assists a wide range of clients in the hospitality industry to negotiate the various pitfalls that exist in New Zealand's liquor licensing law, keeping them informed as the law changes, and advising them about other hospitality-related issues.  We also advise and represent a number of territorial local authorities (councils) and medical officers of health on their new statutory responsibilities and the meaning of the new legislation.

We provide advice at the ground level, assisting licensees and prospective licensees with licence applications and other licensing issues.  We provide strategic advice on the best licensing arrangements, and have participated in the development of the law, acting in numerous cases before various District Licensing Committees and the national Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority, and appeals to the High Court.

We also provide advice to hospitality clients on employment and health and safety issues, commercial arrangements, and other relevant legislation including the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.

We act for a number of different clients including Spotless Services (which caters to hospitals, airports, stadiums, Parliament and other institutions), Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Hutt City Council, hotels, bars and restaurants.

Work highlights

Advising on the liquor licensing and customs issues

associated with the purchase of a major liquor wholesale and hospitality business

Appearing in the former Liquor Licensing Authority and the new Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority

on various matters including supporting applications for new licences and renewals of existing licences, objections to licence applications, manager certificate applications, potential breaches of licensing conditions under the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act

Representing stadium caterers

in the Authority and before the DLC on licence and suspension applications

Advising and representing Medical Officers of Health

from various DHBs

Advising and representing an appellant licensee and a city council

in relation to proposed local Alcohol Authority appeals

Obtaining the first on-licence in New Zealand to cover an entire stadium

(Westpac Stadium in Wellington)

Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

Email Hamish Kynaston