The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 introduced restrictions on where supermarket and groceries stores can display and promote alcohol. This is now confined to a “single area” within the store. Promotions must not be seen or heard outside of this area or from outside of the store.
Click here to read the legislation relating to single areas for supermarkets.
Consult your local regulatory agencies for the most updated information on alcohol areas in supermarkets. A good starting point is contacting your local PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT .
You may also contact the licensing team of your local council as they deal with Local Alcohol Policies or Licence Applications. Here is a list of LOCAL COUNCIL whereby you may search for contact details of the respective alcohol licensing team in your area.
In 1989, wine and mead became available for sale from grocery stores and supermarkets. This was followed in 1999 with beer. The sale of spirits is not permitted.
The introduction of wine sales into New Zealand supermarkets increased the affordability and consumption of wine markedly. New Zealanders are now drinking twice as much wine as they used to.
There are two major supermarket chains in New Zealand: Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs.
Alcohol is the biggest selling caterory in the supermarket. Many New Zealanders buy their alcohol from supermarkets.
On average, the same alcohol product is sold more cheaply from supermarkets than bottle stores.
The number of supermarkets and grocery stores in New Zealand communities has been linked with a range of alcohol-related harms: antisocial behaviour, dishonesty offences, property abuses, property damage, sexual offences and violent offences.
The placement of alcohol in everyday settings, next to commonly purchased products, may normalise alcohol use in our society. Especially among children. New Zealand children are regularly exposed to alcohol in supermarkets.
Tobacco can't be displayed in supermarkets, but alcohol can. Yet alcohol is the most harmful drug in our 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 2019, alcohol contributed $1.074 billion of government revenue in the form of excise tax.
In contrast, alcohol misuse is estimated to cost New Zealand society $7.5 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).
Our drinking landscape - alcohol is over-supplied and advertised heavily
Our drinking landscape has changed considerably over the last 30 years. We have seen dramatic increases in the number of places selling alcohol, the affordability and types of alcoholic products available, and use of innovative marketing strategies to advertise them.
Beginning in 1989, new liquor laws increased the availability of alcohol across New Zealand - wine and beer became available in supermarkets and grocery stores in 1989 and 1999 respectively; the minimum legal age to purchase alcohol was reduced from 20 to 18 years in 1999.
The number of places that sold alcohol more than doubled from to 6,300 in 1990 to 14,200 in 2009.
Today, around 75% of all alcohol in New Zealand is sold from off-licences: 43% from bottle stores and 32% from supermarkets and grocery stores.
More liquor outlets are concentrated in low income suburbs than more socio-economically advantaged suburbs.
The increasingly availability of Ready to Drinks (RTDs) has had a huge impact on heavy drinking in New Zealand, particularly among young girls.
Alcohol has become more affordable over time.
In 2009, it was estimated that $200,000 was spent each day advertising alcohol in New Zealand.
Research in 2004 found that within prime-time television viewing in New Zealand, a scene depicting alcohol occurred every 9 minutes.
In total, New Zealanders spend around $5 billion every year on alcohol.
Everything we care deeply about will start to improve when we reduce alcohol harm. With less alcohol harm, we can; improve our mental wellbeing, reduce suicide and family harm, have safer roads and communities, improve our physical health (e.g. fewer injuries and cancers) and lift employment and productivity. We can open up space to enable genuine conversations, trust and creativity.
As a result of substantial cost savings from reduced harm, every New Zealander stands to benefit. Our core services and sectors, such as ACC, police, health, welfare and justice will experience the greatest gains from reduced harm.
The possibilities are endless. Watch the video below and click the links to learn more.
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.
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.
Learn more here
What we drinkRead More...
Drinking in the past year
Trends in hazardous drinking
Drinking trends in adolescents
Drinking trends in older adults