An alcohol authority has knocked back Wellington City Council's bid to keep central city bars open until 5am.
The council wanted to extend by an hour opening hours from the current 4am closing time but police and health authorities appealed against that.
In a decision released to media today, the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority ruled in favour of the appellants.
It said since legislation came in capping on-licence alcohol sales at 4am, there had been fewer people sent to hospital with booze-related injuries.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown told Checkpoint bars were mostly very well-managed.
"When you can go down and buy RTDs at a dollar a can, it's very difficult to use the tool of bar opening hours to make a difference to many people."
Ms Wade-Brown said the council had not yet decided whether it would appeal the decision or stick with the default national closing time of 4am.