NZ drinking stats

April 17th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Ministry of Health has just published a survey of NZers and alcohol. The results are interesting, compared to five years ago. I think they show again how exaggerated the moral panic around has been.

  • The proportion of NZers who have had an alcoholic drink in the last year has dropped from 84% to 80%
  • The proportion of 15 to 17 year olds who had a drink in the last year has dropped from 75% to 59%. This shows how absolutely wrong it would have been to increase the alcohol purchase age to 20. The current age of 18 is leading to fewer young people drinking than in the past.
  • The proportion of adults who have “hazardous” drinking has dropped from 26% to 22% for men and from 11% to 9% for women.
  • The proportion of 18 – 24 year old drinkers who are hazardous drinkers has fallen from 49% to 36%.
  • The more deprived the area someone lives in, the less likely they are to drink, but if they do the more likely they are to be a hazardous drinker. 11% of adults who live in the least deprived areas are hazardous drinkers compared to 18% of adults in the most deprived areas.

These results are very consistent with other surveys in recent years.

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20 Responses to “NZ drinking stats”

  1. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    The more deprived the area someone lives in, the less likely they are to drink…

    That’s interesting, presuming “more deprived” means more beneficiaries (certainly if you include WFF) this suggests that most poor people don’t waste a lot of money on booze…

    …but if they do the more likely they are to be a hazardous drinker.

    But alcohol abuse is more prevalent, which could be a mix of heavy drinkers being poor (financially) and poor workers so will be lower earners or beneficiaries, and the pressures of being “more deprived” can lead to more desperate people turning to alcohol and other self abuse.

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  2. wreck1080 (3,972 comments) says:

    I have difficulty accepting stats that say hazardous drinking drops when it becomes legal for someone to drink at the same time as the demographic population has increased.

    If this were the case, then you’d legalise all drugs immediately.

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  3. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Wait – this suggests conservatives were WRONG on this issue…. and that must be false, because conservatives are always right, and conservatives know what’s best for EVERYONE. :lol:

    Sounds like a homosexual maori women’s msm conspiracy to me…

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  4. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    I think they show again how exaggerated the moral panic around alcohol has been.

    It is a bit more than moral panic. We have been actively lied to by prohibitionist groups and government agencies. Below are the real stats for alcohol use per person around the world. See where NZ is then compare that to what you hear in the media. NZ is not even close to heavy drinking. We are fed a pack of lies. Also note the human rights records and standard of living in those places who are light drinkers, like us.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption

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  5. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    The proportion of 15 to 17 year olds who had a drink in the last year has dropped from 75% to 59%. This shows how absolutely wrong it would have been to increase the alcohol purchase age to 20. The current age of 18 is leading to fewer young people drinking than in the past.

    DFP two unsustainable leaps of logic in this statement. First the current age is leading to less people drinking, there is absolutely no validity to that statement, it could be any number of factors including and requires much better analysis than this and nor do these factors sustain the premise that it would be wrong to raise the drinking age. This set of information simply does not support either of these statements.

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  6. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    While these statistics are encouraging we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that there is no problem with alcohol – booze is still a major factor in violence and other crime, and poor productivity.

    Most people drink responsibly most of the time, but there is still a significant number of people, and families, severely affected by alcohol abuse.

    And alcohol is a far bigger threat to marriage than allowing a few gays to get married.

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  7. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    And alcohol is a far bigger threat to marriage than allowing a few gays to get married.

    Hell yes !

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  8. Chris2 (770 comments) says:

    How the does survey account for the fact that every time the Police break up an out-of-control alcohol-fuelled party, where people get injured, where the Police get pelted with bottles, that the party is always exclusively attended by young people?

    Last weekend’s annual “Dunedin Hyde Street Party” is not run for the middle-aged, it was for adolescent students whose only focus was to get drunk.

    That pretty much defines “hazardous drinking”

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  9. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Chris2, but the facts show we are not a nation of heavy drinkers and we are drinking less and less. A few random incidents are not a pattern.

    I am tired of our freedoms being restricted and laws passed to suit the whims of the police. They are not the law makers and we are not there to serve them. The police view on our laws should carry no more weight than the views of ditch diggers and accountants. Laws should be passed by our elected leaders, not a bunch of tax payer funded authoritarians. If they do not like dealing with murders, drunks, traffic incidents, then they picked the wrong job.

    And do not bother lecturing me on how badly some people behave on the booze or the crap Police endure from drunks. I have seen it first hand.

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  10. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Thought I should give this some comment given I am ‘in the trade’ so to speak. That said, I retail for the most part fine wines, which is never going to be the poison of choice for the ‘great unwashed’ or problem drinkers.

    My impression is that there are different possible factors at work here:

    1. Enforcement effectiveness – a sustained campaign by licensing agencies and police against supply of alcohol to minors has been building over recent years, and stands to reason that ease of access has become harder for younger drinkers
    2. Employment & Economy – More people in the ‘deprived’ age groups and locations suffer the brunt of increases in unemployment and thus have reduced means to purchase
    3. Public Relations Campaign & culture shift – The PR war targeting problem drinking has escalated to record levels. Would be hard to think that these have had some effect, even if only as a contributing factor (Its not the drinking, its HOW we’re drinking etc).

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  11. dime (10,134 comments) says:

    “The proportion of 15 to 17 year olds who had a drink in the last year has dropped from 75% to 59%”

    struth. another weak generation coming through.

    too busy preparing for earth hour and collecting for greenpeace to have a few drinks. sad!

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  12. Chris2 (770 comments) says:

    Kea – in an ideal mature world you would be correct. But when the taxpayer picks up the bill via ACC for all the injuries stemming from excessive drinking it has the right to “set the rules”.

    If people don’t like it then they should take responsibility for their own actions so that when they get hurt from their drunken behaviour they should pay for their own medical treatment, rehabilitation and lost wages.

    Go and visit your nearest A&E on a Saturday night/Sunday morning and try and find a sober accident victim….

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  13. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    The study says:

    “One in five past-year drinkers has a hazardous drinking pattern”

    That is something to be seriously concerned about.

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  14. Weihana (4,607 comments) says:

    DPF,

    The proportion of 15 to 17 year olds who had a drink in the last year has dropped from 75% to 59%. This shows how absolutely wrong it would have been to increase the alcohol purchase age to 20. The current age of 18 is leading to fewer young people drinking than in the past.

    I agree the age should remain 18. But the correlation doesn’t prove causation.

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  15. Weihana (4,607 comments) says:

    Chris2 (610) Says:
    April 17th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    How the does survey account for the fact that every time the Police break up an out-of-control alcohol-fuelled party, where people get injured, where the Police get pelted with bottles, that the party is always exclusively attended by young people?

    Well you see one is an anecdote and the other is a statistic. :)

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  16. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Chris2 – indeed, ACC needs to be re-focussed to make it more strictly ACCIDENT compensation. NOT stupidity compensation.

    Meanwhile, the only systemic problem with booze in this country is that we seem to believe / pretend drunk fuckwits are somehow VICTIMS of the drink’s effects. It just encourages a weak general mentality where people don’t front up for what they say and do.

    Arrest more drunks for their shit BEHAVIOUR and maybe they will start to get the message…? Certain standards of behaviour are expected in public places, it doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t been drinking.

    And make intoxication an aggravating factor at sentencing for anyone convicted of anything. If getting pissed makes you incapable of controlling your behavour or discerning right from wrong, then it was a bit silly of you to get that pissed wasn’t it?

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  17. calendar girl (1,270 comments) says:

    Chris2 @ 9:03 – “… in an ideal mature world you would be correct. But when the taxpayer picks up the bill via ACC for all the injuries stemming from excessive drinking it has the right to “set the rules”.

    The “taxpayer” you refer to includes those who use (or even abuse) alcohol. With NZ’s very high level of tax on alcohol (excise duty plus GST on excise duty), drinkers already more than pay their way.

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  18. laworder (292 comments) says:

    calendar girl wrote


    The “taxpayer” you refer to includes those who use (or even abuse) alcohol. With NZ’s very high level of tax on alcohol (excise duty plus GST on excise duty), drinkers already more than pay their way.

    Actually, no they dont – smokers do, marginally. Alcohol taxes in 2008 collected around $908 million, and given that 70% of crime is alcohol driven, that would not cover 70% of the Police, Justice and Corrections budgets put together, let alone take into account the significant proportion of the health budget that alcohol related illnesses account for, or the effects on friends/family/partners/ relatives of alcoholics etc etc

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  19. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    “One in five past-year drinkers has a hazardous drinking pattern”

    That is something to be seriously concerned about.

    It would be if it were true.

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  20. calendar girl (1,270 comments) says:

    Peter, your Trust can’t be taken seriously if you back your advocacy with extreme, unqualified and unsubstantiated statements like “… given that 70% of crime is alcohol driven …”.

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