Cost of alcohol to society

Costs outweigh revenue from alcohol tax

The revenue that the Government receives from alcohol taxes does not come close to matching the costs of alcohol-related harm to our society. 

In 2020, alcohol contributed $1.193 billion of government revenue in the form of excise tax.

In contrast, alcohol misuse is estimated to cost New Zealand society $7.85 billion each year. This includes costs resulting from lost productivity, unemployment, as well as justice, health, ACC, welfare costs, etc.

Costs of alcohol harm exceed that of other drug harm.

It is estimated that :

  • 11% of all ACC claims are attributed to alcohol-related injuries.
  • 18% of the New Zealand Police budget is spent on alcohol incidents.

Cost to productivity

Alcohol also results in major losses of productivity in workplaces and schools -

  • In 2012/13, male drinkers (4%) were 1.6 times more likely to be absent from work or studies than female drinkers (2.5%); and
  • In 2012/13, male drinkers (6.9%) were 1.4 times more likely to experience negative financial effects due to their drinking than female drinkers.

Every year, 147,500 adults take one or more days off work or school due to their alcohol use. A total of 84,400 adults have experienced harmful effects on their work, study or employment because of alcohol.

In 2012, 6% of adolescent drinkers report having their work or school affected in the last year due to alcohol. Among those students living in the most deprived areas, 8% report problems with work or school (exacerbating existing inequities in outcomes).