The just released New Zealand annual Health Survey assessment of our health and wellbeing and the Stats NZ data shows positive change in our drinking behaviour [1].

“The Health Survey shows the lowest rate of hazardous drinking [2] since the survey began – sitting at 16% of the adult population (18.7% 2022). This reduction is significant and shows the change in the way that we are drinking,” said NZABC executive director Virginia Nicholls

We are also seeing a reduction by 7.1 percentage points in hazardous drinking by 18 – 24 year olds to 23.8%, (30.9% 2022), and a reduction of 1.6 percentage points by 25 – 34 years to 21.6%.

Results of this survey in the past year found a notable change for Maori with a reduction of 8.3 percentage points in hazardous drinking to 25.1% (33.4% 2022), European/other have a reduction of 3.1 percentage points to 16.9%. Pacific and Asian people have remained stable at 21.5% and 4.9%.

The survey tells us that more of us are drinking responsibly with 84% of New Zealand adults – more than four out of five of us – drinking beer, wine and spirits responsibly. This is an increase of 3 percentage points from last year (81% 2022).

The proportion of people who have consumed alcohol in the past twelve months has decreased 2.1 percentage points, with 76.3% of the population, an estimated 3,205,000 having consumed alcohol (79.1% 2022).

The recent Stats NZ data shows our consumption of beer, wine and spirits declined by 3.1% in the past year. [3]

“The way in which New Zealanders drink is continuing to undergo a culture shift. Beer, wine and spirits consumption has declined more than 25% since the late 1970s,” [4] said Virginia.

“There are some encouraging trends but any harmful drinking is not acceptable and so we still have a way to go”, said Virginia.


[1] Latest New Zealand Health Survey results provide valuable information about the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders | Ministry of Health NZ, accessed 14 December 2023

[2] Hazardous drinkers are those who obtain an AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) score of 8 or more, representing an established pattern of drinking that carries a high risk of future damage to physical or mental health.

[3] Total NZ population 15 years and over total alcohol, 8.747 litres per person in September 2022 and 8.474 litres per person September 2023. Stats NZ Infoshare. In the past year we consumed 490 million litres of beer, wine and spirits, which included 288 of beer, 102 of spirits and 100 million litres of wine. Total litres of beverage is 501.8 million litres September 2022 compared to 490.4 million litres 2023. Stats NZ Infoshare.

[4] Total NZ population 15 years and over total alcohol, 12 litres per person 1978 and 8.5 litres per person September 2023. Stats NZ Infoshare.