The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

New stats show “less hazardous drinking” in New Zealand

Newly released data from StatsNZ shows that the amount of alcohol available for consumption is down almost 10% from a decade ago.

According to NZ Alcohol Beverages Council Executive Director, Bridget MacDonald, the figures to the year ended June 2020, which includes lockdown, show that available alcohol is now at 9.05 litres per head of population (people 18 years+).

“As a nation, we’re seeing positive downward trends in our drinking culture and a culture shift in attitudes and behaviours – fewer younger people are drinking[i], we’re seeing less hazardous drinking,” says MacDonald.

Bridget MacDonald

“We are drinking 25% less per capita today than we did in the ’70s and ’80s, and our consumption is below the OECD average.”

MacDonald says that even with pressures of COVID-19 and lockdowns, it is positive to see responsible drinking has continued.

“While the research showed a general return to usual levels of drinking, 22% of Kiwis reported they are still drinking less than usual,” she says.

“Economic reasons accounted for 33% of people drinking less, but 24% said it was to be healthier, and 23% to use the opportunity to reduce how much they were drinking.”

MacDonald says the proportion of every day drinkers decreased from 19% during lockdown Level 4 down to 11% post-lockdown – especially those aged 25-49 (at 7%, down from 14%) and 50-64 years (at 9%, down from 23%).

“Younger adults have generally been leading the charge in changing attitudes and behaviours toward alcohol – but it’s looking like older adults have also been making better decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances, situation and their lifestyle,” she says.

“The challenge for New Zealand is to ensure the downward trends in hazardous drinking not only continue but are accelerated.”

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