At least 5% of premature death and disability in Aotearoa/New Zealand is attributable to alcohol. Alcohol also reduces wellbeing through its social effects.

Key facts:

  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions
  • Almost half of alcohol in Aotearoa/New Zealand is consumed in heavy drinking occasions
  • One in four drinkers in Aotearoa/New Zealand is classified as a hazardous drinker
  • At least 800 people in Aotearoa/New Zealand die prematurely from alcohol-related causes every year.
  • NZ Police estimates that about half of serious violent crimes are related to alcohol. 
  • Estimated 1800 children born each year with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. 
  • One-third to one-quarter of suicides involve alcohol use disorders  
  • Maori children are more exposed to alcohol marketing in their school and residential neighbourhood compared with other ethnic groups    
  • Māori experience disproportionately higher levels of alcohol-related harm than other ethnic groups
  • People living in deprivation are more likely to be hazardous drinkers

Progress to date:

We are not on track to achieve a WHO target of a 10% relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol.

At least 800 people in Aotearoa/New Zealand have been estimated to die each year from alcohol related causes.

Priority prevention policies*:

Implementation of any policies to reduce harm from alcohol needs to meet the Crown’s obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi and take account of the likely effect on health equity. For a full list of priority policies click here

  • Give effect to Te Tiriti
  • Increase alcohol taxes to reduce affordability
  • Regulate to restrict marketing, including on digital platforms
  • Ban alcohol branding via sponsorship of events and teams
  • Strengthen national regulation of availability
  • Strengthen effective drink driving countermeasures
  • Reform alcohol licensing process to support community involvement
  • Remove right of appeal to allow local authorities to establish Local Alcohol Policies (LAPs) following consultation in their community or remove option for LAPs
  • Ensure licensing fees cover all costs of administration of licensing
  • Increase awareness of FASD and classify as a disability
  • Restrict public relations activities by alcohol industries (eg education, charities)

To read more about the health effects of alcohol and alcohol research visit: Alcohol Action, Alcohol Healthwatch, Cancer Society, Health Promotion Agency: Alcohol, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre.

* These priorities are the consensus of the Roopuu Apaarangi Waipiro (Alcohol Expert Panel). All Coalition members maintain their independent voice, and what is shown on this website may not represent the views of all individual Coalition members.