Trained security guards will be posted outside top Auckland restaurants such as the French Cafe, Cibo and Merediths under planned city council liquor law changes.

Because these restaurants are classed as "suburban" on-licence premises by the council they will have to close at 11pm.

If they want to get an extension to midnight, they must hire one trained security guard for every 50 patrons from 10pm to be outside until at least one hour after close of trade.

Restaurants and other on-licence premises in central Auckland and entertainment precincts such as Ponsonby Rd and Parnell Rd will have to hire security guards from 11pm if they stay open after 1am.

Restaurants and bars with 24-hour licences must not let people in after 4am and provide free food to people buying liquor after 3am.

Jeremy Turner, the owner of Cibo in Parnell, said there was no need for top restaurants to have security guards. In 15 years, rowdy diners had been dealt with satisfactorily by staff without the need for security guards.

He did not think the council would go through with the policy of security guards at top restaurants.

The council has invited public submissions on the liquor law changes by October 7. A decision is expected in December and will come into effect when new licences are applied for or existing licences are renewed.

Aaron Bhatnagar, the councillor steering the changes through the council, yesterday said they could be revised if submissions showed bars and restaurants were being treated too harshly.

"If the 11pm [closing time in the suburbs] is seen as too tough we can revise that."

He was also open on the boundaries, such as putting the Kings Arms tavern, a live music venue in Newton, into an entertainment precinct with 3am closing.

The Citizens & Ratepayers councillor said he was generally supportive of the new liquor licensing changes which offered a consistent set of rules.

He said in suburban areas there was the potential for booze barns and the negative effects on neighbours. People fed up with noise, smashed bottles and other complaints had regularly contacted him.

Mayor John Banks, who has had a long involvement with the hospitality industry in Auckland, said he would only support change that was sensible, workable and fair in the context of a first-world city.

"It is critical we don't implement a policy that is seen as killjoy and destroys what is very well run, responsible licensed premises. The challenge is between protecting community safety and promoting an exciting city."

City Vision leader Richard Northey said the 24-hour provisions in the central city were too liberal and favoured a 3am or 4am closing time, while the suburban hours were a little too restrictive. He suggested midnight closing with an extension to 1am.

A spokeswoman for Auckland City police said the district was preparing a submission.

Last year, Auckland City police called for an end to 24-hour licensing in central Auckland. They wanted bars, pubs and clubs closed by 3am. The council rejected their plan.