Reciprocal Rights - Legal Opinion

30 May 2019

Following the recent confusion regarding reciprocal visiting rights Clubs New Zealand sought a legal opinion from our lawyers Quigg Partners.  In seeking the opinion we asked three questions of the lawyers, below we have provided excerpts of the lawyers opinion in relation to the three questions.

Establish that Clubs New Zealand has the authority to act on behalf of its membership to administer the arrangement for reciprocal rights;

Although there is no clear statutory guidance to any criteria on reciprocal arrangements, it appears clear to us that Clubs NZ has the authority to administer the reciprocal arrangement on behalf of member clubs.

Establish that the process Clubs New Zealand has in place to administer the arrangement for reciprocal rights meets the requirements of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012; and

..., we confirm that we consider Clubs NZ's current reciprocal rights arrangement meets the requirements of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

Whether there is any limit or expectation as to the number of reciprocal arrangements that can be entered into.

In our view, there is no limit in relation to the number of reciprocal arrangements that can be entered into.  We have reached this view simply due to the lack of any material guidance that would suggest otherwise.

Within the legal opinion Quigg Partners referenced a DLC decision of some relevance.  That hearing was before the District Licensing Committee in Napier on 25 November 2016 (decision number 0027/2016 and 0029/2016).  The applications being determined at the hearing involve a variation to two club’s licenses.  Both clubs were seeking to have a condition on their licences allowing alcohol to be supplied to a person who is on the premises at the invitation of an authorised visitor who is also on the premises.  The application was granted in respect of both clubs, and set out below are some extracts from the decision that discuss and acknowledge the Clubs NZ reciprocal rights arrangement:

Whilst the list of Clubs to which the Napier RSA and Taradale RSA have affiliation is extraordinarily large, the reciprocal rights visitations have always been available.  Consequently, the additional number of persons subject to the varied condition sought related only to guest of these visitors, which we consider would be a very small increase.

Furthermore, we are not persuaded that the role of this committee could intervene in the selection of clubs to which reciprocal rights is offered, neither can we ascertain any legal authority to do so.  Provided the clubs can show an affiliation with other clubs, in this case via International Services Association and to Clubs New Zealand, then the provision of s.247 unauthorised sale or supply, can be nullified.

The opinion and above referenced decision acknowledge and essentially confirm the legitimacy of the current reciprocal rights arrangements administered by Clubs New Zealand. 

Clubs New Zealand firmly hold the belief that the arrangement for reciprocal rights that we administer on behalf of members is robust and legal.  It also reduces the amount of bureaucratic paperwork (emails and letters back and forth between clubs) and allows Club Managers to focus on getting out on the floor and managing the club.

While this legal opinion and the above mentioned decision provide clarity over the legitimacy of reciprocal rights administered by Clubs New Zealand, it does not excuse clubs of their obligations and you still need to ensure that your clubs constitution is up to date and relevant in regards to visitors and that you have robust policies, procedures and tools in place to ensure staff can identify reciprocal visitors.

For more information please contact National Office on 0800 425 827.

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