About Alcohol Action NZ/Tohe Waipiro Aotearoa

Whether we choose to use alcohol or not, we are all alarmed about the harm alcohol is causing in contemporary New Zealand – a crisis that enriches the alcohol industry while the costs are picked up by us, the public. Alcohol Action NZ is primarily focused on an evidence-based approach to reducing alcohol-related harm.

200 Medical Conditions

At the current time, at least 20 per cent of New Zealanders over 14 years of age are drinking at levels that pose a risk to themselves and others. Drinkers can be harmed by more than 200 different medical conditions related to regular alcohol use and even ‘low risk’ drinkers have an increased risk of some of these conditions, including cancer. The knock-on effects that heavy drinkers have on others in their families and communities are widespread and serious. In effect, we live with an ongoing crisis where the alcohol industry has been prioritised over the health of our communities. Alcohol Action NZ has an evidence-based solution for dealing with this crisis.

Alcohol Articles

How Did Alcohol Action NZ Begin?

Alcohol policy needs the 5 + Solution

The 5+ Solution/Te Urupare 5+

  1. Dismantle alcohol marketing
  2. Raise alcohol prices
  3. Reduce alcohol accessibility
  4. Increase the purchase age
  5. Strengthen drink-drive countermeasures

PLUS: Increase treatment opportunities for heavy drinkers


The more components of the 5+ Solution that are implemented the more effective they will be, as they work together to change the drinking environment in which people make their decisions about drinking.


Since 2017, the World Health Organisation has considered increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, bans or comprehensive restrictions on exposure to alcohol advertising, and restrictions on the physical availability of retail alcohol, to be the three “best buys” for interventions to reduce harm from alcohol. They also endorse the enforcement of drink-driving limits, treatment for heavy drinkers, minimum unit pricing, appropriate minimum age of purchase and reduction in density of outlets to reduce harm.


We need your support to raise awareness and demand for policy change.





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The Issue – National Crisis

There is a national alcohol crisis. However, this crisis is under-recognized because we have become numbed by the unrelenting presence of alcohol-related problems. The national alcohol crisis has become our way of life. At least 25% of New Zealand drinkers are heavy drinkers (Wells et al 2006) A third of all police apprehensions involve alcohol (Stevenson 2009) Half of serious violent crimes are related to alcohol (Stevenson 2009) 60 different medical conditions are caused by heavy drinking (O’Hagan et al 1993) Up to 75% of a...

Why is this issue so important?

Our environment is s a strong determinant of our health. If 15 people per week were dying from contaminated water supplies, our public health system would be highly engaged in identifying and eliminating the cause of it. Currently 15 people are dying per week from alcohol related causes- 5 of those deaths being from cancer. Our public health officials are well aware of this, and are making every effort to persuade our government to regulate the commercial environment that encourages low prices, ubiquitous advertising and easy availability- a...

Myths and Facts

Myth: “Alcohol reform will “punish” responsible drinkers” Fact: Alcohol harm costs this country billions each year and this burden falls on all of us, drinkers and non-drinkers alike through, for example, the taxes we pay, overcrowding of health services, and the social harms of heavy drinking. The scientific evidence is clear that an integrated solution to the alcohol crisis, including price increases, a ban on advertising, and removing alcohol from supermarkets, will produce significant benefits for everyone. These benefits, ...

Public Servants Can Be Politically Active

Many of the people at the front line of alcohol harm are public servants. One could argue that public servants have a responsibility to inform MPs about the situation with alcohol harm. State Service Commission (SCC) guidelines make it clear that in almost all instances, individuals can be politically active, including on issues related to their public service vocation. To be doubly sure, we also contacted the PSA (Public Service Association) who confirmed this. Only public servants directly working on the policy area in question need sta...

The Government needs to do more than just tinkering

The current alcohol laws are not designed to substantially reduce harm from alcohol. Read the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2012/0120/latest/DLM3339333.html Our organisation campaigned hard prior to this legislation being passed in Parliament. The Law Commission had included all of the policies that make up the 5+ solution in its comprehensive recommendations to the government. However, the newly elected government of the time cherry-picked a few of these recommendations, leaving o...

Take Action

What you can do 1. Join up to be part of Alcohol Action and get our email updates. 2. Promote discussion of the 5+ Solution with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. 3. Write a "letter to the editor" of your local newspaper. 4. Write to and lobby your MP. 5. Attend the annual Alcohol Action NZ conference at Te Papa, Wellington. 6. Make a donation to support Alcohol Action NZ.   ...


Alcohol Action NZ Inc is an independent organisation which relies entirely on funding support from donations, bequests and grants.
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