MEDIA RELEASE 11th April 2020

Statistics New Zealand [i] has confirmed the worst, with its just-released figures showing card spend for hospitality food and beverage services has fallen a massive 95%, down $814 million in just one month.

“We knew that restaurants, cafes and bars had taken a devastating hit because beer, wine and spirits sales had plummeted significantly,” said NZ Alcohol Beverages Council Executive Director Bridget MacDonald.

“But, the Stats NZ figures show the enormity of the impact and the importance of why restaurants and bars need to open again under Alert Level 2,” said Bridget.

“The industry relies heavily on domestic and international tourism. Without these in play, it will be hard yards for businesses to continue to survive, let alone get back to a position where they are sustainable or thriving.

“Both the supply and value chains of the wider industry have been equally hit hard. From growers to tourism, thousands of businesses across New Zealand are hurting. They are keen to get back to business in a safe way to get jobs, communities and the economy running again,” she said.

Figures show spending on motels, hotels, and other accommodation fell 94 per cent ($209 million) in April 2020 compared with the same period last year. A 37 per cent ($97 million) fall was seen in March 2020 compared with March 2019. The figures also report a 29 per cent ($266 million) drop in food and beverage spend for March 2020 compared with March 2019.

“Kiwis have shown themselves to be responsible drinkers over lockdown, with government research [ii] showing around one-third were not drinking at all. Of those who did have a drink, around 50 per cent are drinking the same amount as they usually do, and one-third of people are drinking less.

“We know Kiwis are keen to get out and support their local businesses, and we can see from lockdown that when restaurants and bars open they will do so in a safe and responsible way,” said Bridget.

Need help?

Call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, free txt 8681, or visit

Need more information?

Check out and 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