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New Zealanders Support All-of-society Approach To Tackling Alcohol-related Harm

Kiwis have strong views on how to reduce alcohol-related harm.

A survey by the NZ Alcohol Beverage Council (NZABC) found 84% of New Zealanders support taking an all-of-society approach when it comes to reducing harmful drinking.

“Kiwis support a pragmatic, all-of-society approach to reducing alcohol-related harm. The vast majority (80%) of Kiwis drink moderately and responsibly, and as a nation, our per capita consumption is steadily declining and below the OECD average. But, we all have a part to play in reducing harmful drinking – that means everyone working together including government, health and education providers, and communities – and the industry stepping up to play its part in a team effort,” says Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director.

“Pragmatic actions like targeted education and support programmes are critical to bring about change and reduce harm. When asked, Kiwis said they strongly (81%) supported targeted support programmes for harmful drinkers. Having alcohol education programmes in schools was supported by 78% of people,” she says.

“The good news is we are seeing positive changes in our drinking culture, and in young people in particular – they are drinking less than ever before and less harmfully. But, we all have a role to play in continuing and accelerating these downward trends – we’ve been supporting ‘Smashed’ a theatre in schools programme to help young people to say no to alcohol, and social change organisation Cheers NZ! and interactive programmes like alcoholandme.org.nz to help people to make better decisions based on their personal circumstances, situation and lifestyle.

“The industry also pays an annual levy of about $11.5m to the Health Promotion Agency to fund awareness campaigns and around $1bn in excise tax on alcohol is paid to government each year. More work needs to be done to accelerate the changes we are seeing, but an all-of-society approach will help us make bigger changes,” says Bridget.

The research shows Kiwis also supported deterrents for anti-social behaviour. Two-thirds supported heavier fines for drunk and disorderly behaviour, and over 50% supported issuing on the spot fines for minor alcohol-related offences. Eight-four per cent support confiscating cars from repeat drink drivers.

“Part of the all-of-society approach is also about not tolerating anti-social behaviour or accepting the abuse of alcohol as an excuse for it – we need to send strong signals when behaviour is not okay. We can become a safe and social New Zealand through targeted education and support programmes to help Kiwis to make better decisions around alcohol,” says Bridget.

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