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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

What is intoxication

How do you know if one of your patrons is intoxicated? Here are some tips.

An ‘Intoxication Prevention Tool’ has been developed to assist licensees and their staff to manage intoxication in their premises. It is broken into three stages:



Action of premises


Coherent, clear speech, normal tone and volume. May be talkative.

Coordinated, balanced, standing without support.

Clear eyes, tidy, alert.

Behaving sensibly.

OK – monitor through the night.


Maybe overly talkative, opinionated, stumble over words, loud, inappropriate language or comments.

Slowed or delayed reactions, occasional staggers or sways.

Vacant or blank expression, smell of alcohol on breath, looks untidy.

Overly friendly or withdrawn, inappropriate or risky actions, argumentative, fading attention, increased consumption rate.

Time to intervene!

Advise management and other staff.

Slow or stop alcohol service.


Slurring, difficulty forming words, loud, repetitive, loses train of thought, nonsensical.

Spills drinks, stumbles, trips, weaves, walks into objects, unable to stand unaided or sit straight.

Eyes glazed or bloodshot, inability to focus, tired, asleep, dishevelled.

Seriously inappropriate actions or language, aggressive, rude, belligerent, obnoxious behaviour affecting other customers.

Advise the management and other staff.

Remove the person from the premises.

Right of Refusal

Subject to the Human Rights Act 1993, licensed premises do not have to serve alcohol at any time or to any person. It is also an offence to allow an intoxicated person, or a minor (with exceptions) to remain on a licensed premises or to allow violent, quarrelsome, insulting, or disorderly conduct to take place.

The Human Rights Act 1993 states that, "Prohibited grounds for discrimination are: sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status, sexual orientation". This means entry and service can be refused to anyone, at any time, but not for any of the above reasons.

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