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Keeping Safe And Social During Lockdown

Sip and savour and ‘go no, low and slow’ in lockdown, says the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC).

“It’s always okay to choose no alcohol, choose a drink that is low-alcohol, or simply sip and savour your drink slowly,” says Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director.

“Despite the pressures of COVID-19, Government research shows over lockdown last year the majority of Kiwis drank moderately and responsibly, with 34% choosing to drink less and 36% not drinking at all. We are living in a situation of uncertainty and stress, so we need to continue to make responsible drinking decisions to keep ourselves safe and social,” says Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director.[i]

“Alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle, but in these challenging times, it is important to take time to think about ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ we are drinking, consider no- and low-alcohol options, and check out tools such as and for information and tips that can help us make better drinking decisions,” says Bridget.

“New Zealanders are making better decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances and lifestyle.[ii] As a result, our consumption is decreasing and below the OECD average, hazardous drinking is declining, and fewer younger people are drinking,” Bridget says.[iii]

“In tough times like these, we all have a part to play to conquer COVID-19 – that includes making sensible drinking decisions for ourselves when we’re at home and supporting others to do the same. ‘Go no, low and slow’ is an easy rule of thumb to follow – it’s always okay to choose no alcohol, choose a drink that is low-alcohol, or simply sip and savour your drink slowly,” says Bridget.


Health Promotion Agency, Post-lockdown survey - the impact on health risk behaviours, 28 July 2020

Research by the Health Promotion Agency over lockdown showed 36% of New Zealanders didn’t drink at all, one-third (34%) chose to drink less, and nearly half (47%) consumed about the same. Post-lockdown saw drinking habits return to pre-lockdown levels for most New Zealanders, with two-thirds (64%) drinking at their usual (pre-lockdown) levels, and 22% reported drinking less than usual.

[ii] No- and low-alcohol consumption: NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, New Zealander’s attitudes to alcohol research, December 2020, poll of 1000 New Zealanders: 40% of respondents say they drink low-alcohol beverages.

[iii] New Zealand Health Survey 2019/20, November 2020, Four in five adults (81.5%) drank alcohol in the past year and are moderate drinkers. One in five drank (20.9%) in a hazardous way.!/explore-indicators (Note: the results of the survey does not include information about people’s health during the lockdown in New Zealand)

Decreasing alcohol consumption: StatsNZ Infoshare, Alcohol available for consumption to December 2020 (published 25 February 2021),

Alcohol available for consumption has been trending downward for a number of years. Data shows alcohol available for consumption was 8.719 litres per head of population (15 years and older) in December 2020 and a 22.7% decrease since 1986 when the data was first collected where there was 11.282 litres per head of population in December 2020.

NZ consumption below OECD average: OECD Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol consumption is defined as annual sales of pure alcohol in litres per person aged 15 years and older. The OECD average consumption is 8.9 litres/capita (aged 15 and over). New Zealand is at 8.8 litres/capita.

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