Those of you in attendance at the Clubs New Zealand 2017 AGM would have heard the update from Charlie Clayton, President of the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club regarding changes made with the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 meaning that Friendly Society Clubs are no longer able to hold a Club Licence.

This change in legislation (a change of three words in the definition of club) was not uncovered until Friendly Society Clubs began renewing their licences and were told they were no longer eligible to hold a club licence.

Over the last twelve months Clubs New Zealand has explored a number of options including meeting with Ministers, Ministry of Justice Advisors and Council Representatives to rectify the definition of clubs within the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.  While many of our discussions led to promises of a law change to allow Friendly Society clubs to continue to hold their club licences, the election scheduled for later this year means we are very unlikely to see the law change come into effect before deadlines imposed on these clubs to become Incorporated Societies are reached.

It has been identified that the best course of action for the Friendly Society Clubs holding a Club Licence is to become an Incorporated Society, this in itself has presented numerous challenges. Clubs New Zealand would like to thank Charlie Clayton and the team at Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club for putting their hand up to be the 'guinea-pig' through their change over to an Incorporated Society.  The work to get to this stage has not been straight forward and without the help of Charlie and the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club, Clubs New Zealand's lawyers Quigg Partners and intervention of the Registrar of the Friendly and Incorporated Societies (Ross van der Schyff) we would have struggled to get through a couple of legal loopholes.

Clubs New Zealand have this morning been in contact with the clubs affected to provide General Guidance Notes to assist those clubs and their lawyers make the transition from Friendly Society to Incorporated Society.

If you have any questions regarding Friendly Societies and Club Licences please contact National Office on 0800 4 CLUBS.