30 December 2021

New Year’s celebrations should be a fun, social time with family and friends – whether you’re enjoying beer and bangers at a BBQ, wine and wiener schnitzel at your local restaurant, cocktails and canapés at a city bar, or an alcohol-free bubbles and fish and chips picnic at the beach.

The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) says we all have a part to play to help reduce alcohol-related harm and keep safe and social when we are celebrating – that means making sensible decisions for ourselves and supporting others to do the same.

“It’s been another challenging year for Kiwis, but we’re asking everyone to keep their celebrations safe and social wherever they may be farewelling 2021 and welcoming in 2022,” says Bridget MacDonald NZABC’s Executive Director. 

“Keeping summer celebrations safe and social is all about making better, more responsible drinking choices. We can do this if we think about what we are drinking and how we are drinking. 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,” says Bridget.

“The majority of Kiwis are moderate, sensible drinkers. We’ve made some positive changes in our attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol. We are becoming more aware of what and how we are drinking and our choices, such as no- and low-alcohol options. New research shows nearly half (47%) of Kiwis had low-alcohol drinks in the past year.[i] Data also shows that alcohol consumption is decreasing, hazardous drinking is declining, and fewer younger people are drinking in New Zealand. [ii] [iii] [iv] 

“There is more work to be done to accelerate these trends, and many Kiwis are already making better decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances, situation and lifestyle,” Bridget says.

“Make the most of your New Year celebrations and summer social occasions by moderating how much you drink, considering no- and low-alcohol options, staying hydrated with water, enjoying your drink with some food, and having a plan to get home safely,” says Bridget.

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.

·        If you are out and about, be sure to use the NZ COVID tracer app.

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/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.

References: Media release: Tips for safe and social New Year’s celebrations