Cafes and restaurants in the Ruapehu district can now make use of the footpath space outside their business for outdoor drinking and eating.
Ruapehu District Council (RDC) voted to allow alfresco dining on footpaths bringing the area in-line with other New Zealand tourism districts.
Margaret Hawthorne, the council's group manager environmental, said the new 2012 Public Places bylaw required all cafes and restaurants using council footpath space to apply for a licence to cover this activity.
"An alfresco dining licence will provide a legally defined area of pavement where cafes and restaurants can extend their business," Mrs Hawthorne said.
"In effect the alfresco dining area of pavement is an official extension of their business.
"Cafes and restaurants offering alfresco dining will now have a 'license to occupy' the footpath which will also define their responsibilities and obligations to manage that area," she said.
She said as a growing tourism district the RDC recognised the ambience and vibrancy that alfresco dining could bring while also allowing local hospitality businesses greater opportunities.
The council has set a one-off cost of $200 for businesses wanting an alfresco dining licence to cover application and processing costs.
"Premises which hold an existing liquor licence and wish to serve alcohol outside of their existing licence area will need to apply for re-definition of the licensed area."
The next step was public meetings, which would be held in Taumarunui and Ohakune to discuss the new license regime with affected parties before it is implemented.