Reciprocal Rights - The Thin Edge of the Wedge

11 April 2019

Reciprocal Rights is a part of club life that dates back to the very first clubs established in New Zealand. It provides club members the opportunity to visit and enjoy the facilities and hospitality of clubs right across the country. Reciprocal Rights reinforces the club community in New Zealand and supports social visits and sporting tournaments enjoyed by many club members.

As an industry we must act now to ensure that this fundamental part of club life is protected because it is under increasing scrutiny!

In recent months we have heard of at least two clubs that have relinquished their clubs’ reciprocal rights as a form of compromise with reporting agencies and councils at renewal time.

This is incredibly concerning and if left unchecked has the potential to impact every single club in New Zealand along with your members.

Clubs New Zealand is working with a number people and groups to reiterate the importance of reciprocal rights and to establish some common understanding regarding the process and the administration for reciprocal rights, but we need clubs to take heed of the below information now;


We need to achieve consistency in our constitutions regarding visitors, guests and reciprocal visiting rights. We are asking councils and reporting agencies to be consistent – so let’s show them how it’s done!

Reviewing your constitution regularly needs to happen regularly.  The Clubs New Zealand Model Constitution contains a clause on Visitors and Guests (Authorised Customers and Authorised Visitors) and we have had this peer reviewed.

The Model Constitution is available for download in the Resource Room under the Governance Folder.

When reporting agencies are looking at your practices, they want to see your supporting documentation that confirms your club is walking the talk. Your constitution is where this all starts, if your constitution is not up to date, modern or clear, suspicions are automatically going to be raised.


Get the team involved and review your policies and procedures. The entire team must be on the same page and the best way to achieve this is with clear policies and procedures.

For example, if it is not standard club policy for a reciprocal visitor to show their membership card(s) at the point of sale, make it a standard policy and ensure that staff have the resources, tools and training in place to allow them to be compliant with the law.

If you are unsure about your clubs’ policies and procedures do not wait get in touch with Clubs New Zealand or the Alcohol Consulting Group now!


Staff and committee need to be trained in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.  Your staff need to have a practical knowledge of their roles and their responsibilities.

The committee is the licensee, and as the licensee you also need to understand the clubs responsibilities under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 so that you can provide adequate support, resources and tools to your club manager/bar manager so that they can ensure the club is compliant at all times.

Clubs New Zealand offers training in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Please get in touch with us on 0800 425 827 to find out how to get your staff and or committee trained.


Just don’t do it! If you are in discussions with reporting agencies or your local council and a compromise of any sort is put on the table – seek advice! Contact Clubs New Zealand or get in touch with the team at Alcohol Consulting Group.

Better yet talk to us well in advance of your renewal time! Alcohol Consulting Group can work with you now to assist in getting all your ducks in a row in advance of your renewal.


Call Clubs New Zealand National Office on 0800 425 827.  The earlier you get in touch and talk to us the better.

Get in touch with Alcohol Consulting Group on 0800 252 6465 or email not only can they help your club if a hearing is required, but they are skilled in assisting with systems, staff and training along with preparing renewals so that you go into the renewal process fully prepared with all the information required.

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