Wastewater tests reveal New Zealander’s local drinking habits

March 21, 2024

Wastewater tests reveal New Zealander’s local drinking habits

Alcohol consumption rises on days with events and public holidays. Photo: Johanne Hanghøj Jørgensen

A new study from Auckland University has tested wastewater for alcohol to determine how much New Zealanders are drinking.

The study found the average alcohol consumption for a person over 15 years is equal to one standard drink a day.

The study also investigated the difference in alcohol consumption based on geographics.

The study found that in Auckland alcohol consumption is higher in the northern area and lower in the southern part of the region.

And people in smaller cities also drink close to 40 percent more than people living in major urban areas, it found.

Comparison between cities’ alcohol consumption based in size Comparison between cities’ alcohol consumption based in size

Andrew Galloway, director of Alcohol Healthwatch, an organisation dedicated to reducing and preventing alcohol harm, is excited about the new study.

But believes that it is too early to draw any conclusion from the study, given its new way of conducting this type of study in New Zealand.

He pointed out that alcohol consumption in different types of cities also can be highly affected by the demographic.

“When looking at the geography, we can see that the alcohol consumption in South Auckland is very low. A reason behind this could be that many Pasifika live there, and their religion does not allow them to drink alcohol.”

He also says some of the medium-large cities that have high alcohol consumption have a high concentration of young people, a demographic that tends to drink more.

The study states that, compared to countries like Canada and England, New Zealand has a significant lower alcohol consumption. In London and Montreal it is twice as high as in Auckland.

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