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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
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Minimum age to purchase alcohol

This page will give you a clear understanding of your responsibilities, as an alcohol licence holder, towards minors.

What is the minimum purchase age?

The minimum purchase age in New Zealand is 18. It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol in licensed premises to people under this age.

There is one exception to the above. This exception allows the consumption of alcohol by a minor in certain areas of licensed premises if that person is accompanied by their parent or legal guardian and the parent or legal guardian has purchased the alcohol for them. These terms are defined below.

  • Minor - a person under the age of 18.
  • Parent - natural, adoptive or foster parent.
  • Legal guardian - a person's guardian within the meaning of the Guardianship Act 1968. It is not a family friend, other relative, schoolteacher or other informal relationship.

Designations

The various parts of a licensed premises will either be undesignated or be designated either a supervised or restricted area. The ability for a minor to be present in an area, and consume alcohol if supplied by a parent or legal guardian, depends on the designation.

Undesignated

  • Persons of any age may be in this area.
  • Persons under 18 accompanied by a parent or legal guardian may consume alcohol although they cannot purchase it. Any alcohol consumed by a minor in an undesignated area must be purchased by the parent or legal guardian.

Supervised

  • Persons under 18 may be present only if accompanied by parent or legal guardian.
  • The manager has responsibility to establish proof of the relationship and is entitled to request ID or other proof to establish that the relationship exists.
  • Persons under 18 accompanied by a parent or legal guardian may consume alcohol although they cannot purchase it. Any alcohol consumed by a minor in a supervised area must be purchased by the parent or legal guardian.

Restricted

  • Persons under the age of 18 are not permitted in a restricted area.

Evidence of Age Documents

Management of a licensed premises can ask patrons to supply an evidence of age document as proof of age. An evidence of age document contains a photograph and information that enables the age of the person to whom it is issued to be determined.

An evidence of age document is:

  • a New Zealand or overseas passport
  • a driver's licence (issued under the Land Transport Act 1998)
  • HANZ 18+ Card (more information on, and application forms, are available from Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ) website.

It is management's responsibility to ensure that they do not supply alcohol to minors or allow minors to be on their premises illegally. Management must therefore be satisfied that the customer is of the correct age. The responsibility is on the individual to prove that they are of the correct age. The licensee or manager does not have to allow any person onto the premises.

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