General information about alcohol Special Licences, and the application form.

A special licence allows for the sale of alcohol at special occasions or events.

They are normally used to licence one-off events where no licence is currently held, such as a food and wine festival or a wedding. A Special Licence can also be used to extend the hours or area of a licensed premises for a special occasion or event.

Special - Carnival

A special licence is valid for the particular event, or series of events, specified in the licence. There are two types of special licence:

  1. On-site special licence - allows the licensee to sell and supply that alcohol for consumption on the site to people attending an event.
  2. Off-site special licence - allows the licensee to sell the licensee's alcohol for consumption somewhere else as well as supply free samples.

Making an Application

Applications must be lodged at least 20 working days (generally four weeks) before the date of the function. This is to allow the Police and Public Health to report on your application. Exceptions for short-dated applications can be made for unforeseen events such as funerals. It's important to note that a 'working day' does not include weekends, statutory holidays or any day between 20 December and 15 January (inclusive).

To apply for a Special Licence, complete the application form attached below and submit it to the Council with the appropriate fee. You must provide sufficient detail on the form for the District Licensing Committee to understand your event and how it will be managed.

You will be contacted by the Council Inspector, Police, or Public Health to discuss your application in detail, especially for larger events.


Forms for licence applications have been updated. Please ensure you use the latest version on this website.

Apply now

To apply online through Business Connect you will need to set up a RealMe 'Selwyn District Council' account (see below).  If you require any assistance please contact our Alcohol Licensing Administrators at Food and Health Standards Ltd on 03 365 1667

  1. Right click on Business Connect (select 'open link in a new tab')
  2. Login using your RealMe account. If you don’t have a RealMe account, you can follow the link to quickly create one.
  3. If it’s your first time logging onto Business Connect, you will need to create an account using your email address.
  4. Once you have you have done that, go to the Business Connect dashboard.
  5. lick the Alcohol License tab.
    Click the check eligibility button once you have read the information.
  6. Select ‘Selwyn District Council' in the 'Your Council' field.
  7. Complete the application form.
Note: The online form is administered by Business Connect; you can find their Privacy Statement online. Any Technical issues can be emailed to

Host Responsibility Plan Information Sheet

An information sheet is available that explains more detail about Special Licences and how to make an application.

Large Events

For events where over 400 people are expected, you will also be required to submit an Alcohol Management Plan detailing how you will deal with security, monitoring, interaction with local residents, and public health concerns. You can use the attached guidance and template to help you:

Events involving children

If you are planning an event that is child-focused, or to be held on school property, you should contact the Medical Officer of Health, on 03 364 1777, prior to making an application for a special licence.

The Medical Officer of Health may oppose applications for alcohol at child-focused events, such as school fairs, children's sports events and children's prize givings, so it's best to discuss the circumstances of your event prior to making an application.

Special Licences for Conveyances

If you want to consume alcohol on a hired bus, for example on a journey home from a sports match, you can apply for a special licence to sell and supply that alcohol to the passengers. A special licence cannot be issued for a bus trip where each individual brings their own alcohol to consume. A person applying for a special licence to supply or sell alcohol must take responsibility for preventing  intoxication, as well as providing non-alcoholic alternatives and food.

Application for Special Licence for Conveyance  [PDF, 272 KB]

Deciding on a Special Licence Application

All Special Licences have to be decided by the District Licensing Committee. If your licence is not opposed by the Inspector or Police or Public Health, the committee chairperson can decide, based on the information you have given on the application form. If there is any opposition to the application, or there is insufficient information in your application to make a decision, the committee may have to hold a full hearing where you will be invited to attend and answer questions. This takes a lot longer to organise, and will take longer than 20 working days, so you are advised to apply eight weeks in advance if you think a full hearing may be needed.

Local Alcohol Policy

Selwyn District Council has had a Local Alcohol Policy [PDF, 116 KB] in place as of 24th April 2017.

Related Links

If you have any questions in regard to applying for a Special licence, please contact us.