Make sure your members are up to speed with reciprocal rights

16 July 2020

As members start moving around the country again and enjoying holidays closer to home it is important to remind them about reciprocal rights and the rules and expectations that go with them.

It seems a lifetime ago now that the Otorohanga hearing was held, that hearing helped to legitimise the reciprocal rights arrangement administered through Clubs New Zealand membership, however, it also highlighted the need for clubs to ensure that their rules are up to date (Clubs New Zealand model rule) and that you have adequate tools, processes and procedures in place for identifying authorised visitors - this includes educating members on all things reciprocal rights.

It is important to remind members that Reciprocal Rights is a privilege and should be treated as such.  It is up to each individual club to determine its rules around reciprocal rights in line with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, however, to foster consistency Clubs New Zealand has produced guidelines and quick tips to help you get the most out of reciprocal visiting rights.

Proof of Membership

Members must be able provide proof of membership.  Members should be reminded to have their membership card handy or even better download the Clubs New Zealand App and sign in to access the digital membership card.

Clubs New Zealand has had a few inquiries recently where visitors have presented membership cards with no clear expiry date or information to determine whether the member is financial.  This can lead to an embarrassing situation for all involved, if your membership cards do not clearly indicate financial membership we recommend utilising the Clubs New Zealand Mobile App.

Can Reciprocal Visitors Bring Guests?

Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2021 clubs can only sell and supply alcohol to members of the club concerned, guests of a member of the club concerned and reciprocal visitors (members of another Clubs New Zealand member club). 

Unless the club has been granted a condition on your licence, a person who is not a member of any club, who has been invited to the club by a reciprocal visitor will not be able to be sold or supplied alcohol while in the club.  Many clubs have successfully had this condition added to their licence and if you haven't we strongly recommend that you apply for it (it just makes things easier for everyone).

Membership type matters

For the most part most membership types will be able to enjoy reciprocal visiting rights, however, we have had a few clubs expressing concern at people visiting via reciprocal rights on a corporate membership.

Rules for corporate membership will vary from club to club, but generally corporate membership holders are not entitled to hold office in the club, participate in any reciprocal visiting rights with other clubs, or represent the club at any sporting or other fixture.

Other matters

  • Your club must have an arrangement for reciprocal rights, this can be administered by Clubs New Zealand or directly between two clubs.
  • Members should check with the club they are visiting beforehand about dress code, special rules or ticket-only events.  Some clubs have recently introduced a "spare clothes" wardrobe so that visitors can throw on a shirt if required, or areas of the club where dress code is a little more relaxed (tradies can visit in their work gear).
  • Remind members that if they pay frequent visits to another club, they may be required to join it.
  • Failure to observe the rules and by-laws of the club you are visiting may result in non-admission or removal from the premises.
  • Individual clubs have the right to control entry to their club, and despite reciprocal rights being in place, members may be denied entry to the club.
  • Legal entry requirements in Australia may be different to New Zealand so check before visiting an overseas club.

Take time to run through your processes and procedures for reciprocal visitors, are they clear, consistent and easy for staff and members to follow?  Make sure your clubs website and newsletters are up to date and if you have any questions get in touch with the team at National Office on 0800 4 CLUBS.


Get your hands on the future

With the Clubs New Zealand App

Get your hands on the future with Clubs New Zealand's App which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android.  The Clubs New Zealand App is all about helping you get more out of your membership. As a member of a club you can access any of our network of 300 member clubs as a reciprocal visitor and visiting a club is a breeze with the new digital membership card.


Find out more