With the festive season upon us and the celebrations that come with it, we need to put in place host responsibility measures for our guests. Provide plenty of food, a variety of beverages along with low and no alcohol options.

The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) says we all have a part to play to help reduce alcohol-related harm and to keep our family and friends safe.

“We are coming to the end of another challenging year, and if you are hosting, please make sure there is plenty of food and water, no and low alcohol options, and look out for your guests,” says NZABC Executive Director Virginia Nicholls.

Last month the New Zealand annual Health Survey released the findings of its 2021/22 assessment of the New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing. The survey tells us that 81% of New Zealand adults – four out of five of us – are drinking beer, wine and spirits responsibly.

New Zealanders are also drinking 25% less now than we did in the late 1970s. Fewer young people (under 18) are drinking alcohol and those who do are drinking less hazardously. However, with the festive season upon us, more than ever we need to look out for our family and friends.

Industry consumer research found that 47% of respondents said they drank low-alcohol beverages (up from 40% in 2020). The most common reasons for drinking low-alcohol beverages included 28% because they were driving; 27% who because they were tracking their beverage consumption; 26% for health and wellbeing reasons; 19% for a lower calorie drink and 15% because they preferred low-alcohol beverages.

“We are seeing more Kiwis sip and savour their drink, and people are also adding more no and low alcohol beer, wine and spirits to their beverage options”.

“A good rule of thumb is ‘Go no, low or slow’ – it’s always okay to choose a no or low-alcohol drink, and if you choose to drink, then simply sip and savour it slowly.”

“Don’t continue to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone who looks like they’re becoming intoxicated. And make sure your friends and family get home safely”.

“Enjoy your celebrations over the summer by reviewing your personal drinking habits as well as putting in place host responsibility measures for your guests,” says Mrs Nicholls.

Top tips for safe and social New Year’s celebrations and summer social occasions

·        Go ‘no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no- or low-alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.

·        Sip and savour that cocktail, and remember that a good cocktail can be made with no more alcohol than a bottle of beer.

·        Know what a standard drink looks like, and keep an eye on how many you are drinking.

·        Eat when you are drinking.

·        Drink water in between drinks to stay hydrated.

·        Have a plan to get home safely. Leave the car at home.

·        Support others to stay safe and social. Look out for your friends or family.

·        If you’re hosting, make sure there’s plenty of food, no- and low-alcohol options, and water available.

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.

A good rule of thumb is ‘Go no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no or low alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.

Ministry of Health 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.