Increase the price of alcohol

Cheap alcohol causes significant harm in our country. Alcohol has become more and more affordable and heavy discounts and promotions are common. We need to take action on cheap alcohol in Aotearoa. 

Here is some background and actions you can take in meantime:


The low price of alcohol is a key driver in our drinking culture.

The evidence clearly shows that increasing the price of alcohol can reduce consumption across all drinkers, and especially among harmful drinkers.

Alcohol is now more affordable than it has ever been. Wine has particularly become more affordable. This means that is now takes us less time to earn enough money to buy a standard drink.

In New Zealand, off-licences are now selling approximately 75% of all alcohol. Supermarkets are big players in the retail market.

Having many outlets in a community results in competition, which drives prices down. Cheap alcohol cost lives.

Increasing the price of alcohol is one the strongest tools in our kete / basket to reduce harm. It is the most important.

What you need to know

Alcohol is subject to an excise tax.

The amount of excise tax varies by beverage type and alcohol volume in the beverage.

The money collected by the Government from alcohol excise taxes goes into the wider pool of Government funds. Taxes are not tagged to any initiatives to reduce alcohol harm.

Alcohol is also subject to a special levy. This goes to the Health Promotion Agency to support their alcohol programme of work.

Excise tax increases are not always passed on to the consumer - sometimes the industry absorbs some of the increased costs.

Increases in excise taxes could generate significant revenue for the Government as well as result in significant cost savings from reduced alcohol-related harm.

In 2014, the Ministry of Justice examined the benefits of increases in excise taxes. The report noted that the matter would not be looked at again until 2019.

Take action on the low price of alcohol

  • Share any information on prices and promotions you have gathered with others through our Facebook Group. It could be useful in planning for advocacy efforts at the national level - please check out the section on advocacy for more information.
  • Take opportunities to raise awareness of the effectiveness of pricing strategies with local decision makers and influencers. For tips and assistance, please check out the section on advocacy for more information.
  • Raise the issue in the media through a letter to the editor or offering an opinion piece – for more tips and assistance, please check out the section on engaging with mainstream media or connect with community champions.

Submission template - price measures on alcohol

Join or support other advocacy efforts towards the implementation of more effective price controls, please check out the section on Mobilising Others for more ideas.

· Include price issues on any submissions on draft legislation (i.e. Bills) which relate to alcohol. We will develop a submission template on price measures when opportunities arise.