21 April 2021

The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) supports the Government’s targeted approach to primary and community healthcare announced today by the Minister of Health, Hon. Andrew Little, in response to the Health and Disability System Review.

“The majority (81.5%) of New Zealanders drink moderately and responsibly. But we know that one in five drink in a way that can be harmful to themselves or others, and that’s not okay. We also know that Māori are over-represented in some health statistics, including Māori being 1.8 times more likely than non-Māori to drink hazardously. That’s also not okay,” says Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director. [i]

“Our industry research shows that 75% of New Zealanders agree that targeted education and support programmes are the best way to reduce harmful drinking. The Government’s focus on working with communities to deliver targeted healthcare will be a positive step forward. The research also shows 83% of Kiwis agree that all of society has a role in reducing alcohol-related harm. That means central and local government, healthcare and education providers, local communities, and the alcohol industry working together to play their part,” Bridget says.[ii]

“Kiwis are making positive changes in their attitudes and behaviours toward alcohol. They are making better decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances, situation and their lifestyle. As a result, we see a general decline in hazardous drinking, fewer younger people are drinking, a decrease in total consumption, and our per capita consumption is below the OECD average,” Bridget says.[iii]

“While we see some positive changes to our drinking culture, there is still work to be done to increase momentum and accelerate these changes. An all-of-society approach, targeted education and support programmes are critical to changing attitudes and behaviours and helping people make better decisions around alcohol,” says Bridget.

[i] New Zealand Health Survey 2019/20, November 2020, https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/annual-update-key-results-2019-20-new-zealand-health-survey Four in five adults (81.5%) drank alcohol in the past year and are moderate drinkers. One in five drank (20.9%) in a hazardous way. https://minhealthnz.shinyapps.io/nz-health-survey-2019-20-annual-data-explorer/_w_e434a146/#!/explore-indicators

[ii] NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, New Zealander’s attitudes to alcohol research, December 2020, poll of 1000 New Zealanders undertaken by Curia Market Research.

[iii] StatsNZ Infoshare, Alcohol available for consumption to December 2020 (published 25 February 2021), http://archive.stats.govt.nz/infoshare/. Alcohol available for consumption has been trending downward for a number of years. Data shows alcohol available for consumption was 8.719 litres per head of population (15 years and older) in December 2020 and 9.607 litres in 2010, resulting in a 9.2% decrease (see graph 1 below). There has been a 15.4% decrease since 1990 when it was 10.316 litres, and a 22.7% decrease since 1986 when the data was first collected where there was 11.282  litres per head of population (15 years and older) in December 2020 (see graph 2 below). Note: The per head of population (15 years and older) is the measure used by the OECD.

OECD Alcohol Consumption, https://data.oecd.org/healthrisk/alcohol-consumption.htm. Alcohol consumption is defined as annual sales of pure alcohol in litres per person aged 15 years and older. The OECD average consumption is 8.9 litres/capita (aged 15 and over). New Zealand is at 8.8 litres/capita. See graph 3 below. Source: OECD Health Statistics, 2019. New Zealand figures as at 2018.


Need more information?

Check out cheers.org.nz and alcoholandme.org.nz for more information on what a standard drink is and how to make better drinking decisions.

Ministry of Health/HPA Guidelines: Low-risk alcohol drinking advice to reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:

Two standard drinks a day for women and no more than 10 standard drinks a week,

Three standard drinks a day for men and no more than 15 standard drinks a week,

– AND have at least two alcohol-free days every week.

Need help?

Call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, free txt 8681, or visit alcoholdrughelp.org.nz.