Drinking in New Zealand

Past year drinking

In 2018/19, four in every five (or 80.3%) New Zealanders had an alcoholic drink in the past year (a significant increase from 78.7% in 2017/18).

Males (84.5%) were more likely to drink than females (76.3%). For more detail on past-year drinking, click here.

Hazardous drinking

In 2018/2019, one in every five (or 20%) New Zealanders had a hazardous drinking pattern. This equates to 787,000 NZ adults aged 15+ years. 

Note: ‘Hazardous drinking’ refers to an established alcohol drinking pattern that carries a risk of harming the drinker’s physical or mental health or having harmful social effects on the drinker or others. It is determined by using the World Health Organisation's AUDIT checklist - a score of 8 or more indicates hazardous drinking.

Males (27.5%) were twice as likely as females (12.8%) to be hazardous drinkers.

Whilst 18 to 24 year olds maintain the highest (35.4%) prevalence of hazardous drinking in the country, hazardous drinking patterns remain prevalent throughout older age groups in New Zealand, particularly among men. Adolescents (15 to 17 year olds) have maintained their lower levels of hazardous drinking (6.3%).

Inequities in consumption persist - in 2018/19 Māori were more likely to be hazardous drinkers than non-Māori, and people in the most deprived neighbourhoods were more likely to be hazardous drinkers than those from the least deprived neighbourhoods.

For more detail on hazardous drinking, click here.

1 in 5 New Zealanders have a drinking pattern that places them and/or others at risk of harm

Heavy drinking at least weekly

Reported consumption of six or more drinks on one occasion, at least weekly, significantly increased among men (total)(18.3%), young adults 18-24 years (21.1%), and European/other men (20.1%), compared with 16.3%, 16.5%, and 17.6% in 2017/18 respectively.


Check out the factsheets on past-year drinking and hazardous drinking for 2018/19, or check the topics at the end of this page to learn more about drinking trends in New Zealand.

Factsheet: Past year drinking 2018/19

Factsheet: Hazardous drinking 2018/19

Learn more here



What we drink


Drinking in the past year



Trends in hazardous drinking



Drinking trends in adolescents



Drinking trends in older adults