annual Auckland tracking surveys were developed to monitor trends in
drinking patterns, alcohol-related problems and related issues.
The surveys began in November 1990 and this report examines the
trends that have emerged over the ten years from 1990 to 1999,
The telephone surveys were based on samples randomly selected
from the Auckland free-calling area.
Sale of Liquor Act 1989 liberalised New Zealand’s traditionally
restrictive licensing regime. By 1995 the number of on- and
off-licensed premises and clubs selling alcohol in Auckland City had
almost doubled. Many
traditional pubs were replaced by smaller independently-owned premises
and, from around 1995, the number of licensed cafés and café-bars
increased, particularly in the inner city.
The doubling of off-licensed outlets in the Auckland area
included supermarkets and other main grocery outlets permitted to sell
wine from 1990 and, following the 1996 and 1999 elections, new alcohol
outlets in former ‘dry’ areas in the central suburbs.
availability was also increased by lifting restrictions on hours of
trading, allowing some licensees to operate 24 hours a day.
Late night trading by nightclub-style premises increased.
Pubs and taverns, whose main business was the sale of liquor,
were restricted to those aged over 20.
The 1989 Act increased access to nightclubs for young people by
allowing access for the purposes of entertainment.
By the later years of the study period, this access had been
restricted as many late night Auckland premises had obtained a
‘supervised’ licence designation allowing the sale of alcohol to
18-19 year olds present ‘for the purposes of dining’.
Mixed drinks known as alcopops, ready to drinks and shooters
were introduced into New Zealand in 1995 and were heavily promoted.
There was a law change on December 1, 1999 that reduced the
drinking age to 18. The timing of this change was such that it had no
effect on the survey data.
change since 1990 that may have influenced consumption was the
introduction of alcohol brand advertising in the broadcast media from
This led to a 42% increase in advertising expenditure and a
fourfold increase in televised alcohol advertising in the first years.
Expenditure has stayed at about the same level since.
Liquor producers moved out of pub ownership to focus on product
marketing through chains of large off-licensed outlets and brand
advertising on television.
Some free broadcasting time was made available for
counter-advertising as part of the policy change and this has been
utilised by the Alcohol Advisory Council and the Land Transport Safety
The ratio of counter-advertising to commercial advertising has
been about 1:10 over the decade.
further change during this period was the introduction of Compulsory
Breath Testing (CBT) in April 1993.
Alongside the CBT operations, the LTSA has run advertising
campaigns whose focus is on deterring people from drinking and
Graduated driver licences were introduced in 1998 with all
drivers under 20 required to have a lower blood alcohol level than
on alcohol available for consumption gathered from production, import
and export which are available only on a national basis suggest a
decline in consumption across the decade.
However, the estimates of consumption by the Auckland
population based on these surveys indicate that there has not been a
corresponding decline in this region.
This may in part reflect more buoyant economic circumstances in
Auckland illustrated by measures of consumer confidence and a slightly
lower unemployment rate during much of the decade (see Appendix A for
further discussion of this).
However, the main influence has been demographic change.
Over the decade the percentage of the population of Auckland
who had higher incomes and university qualifications increased (see
Appendix B for further details).
These changes have influenced the patterns of alcohol
consumption seen in Auckland over the decade.
conditions to a large extent mirrored those of the country as a whole,
with a recession in the first part of the decade followed by recovery
and employment growth thereafter.
Between 1990 and 1993 during the economic recession the middle
and lower income groups in Auckland experienced a decline in the real
value of their incomes.
The decline was of the order of 14.9% for the lower income
group and 5.9% for the middle income group.
The higher income group’s average income increased in real
terms, by 3.6%.
This was followed by general income growth in the middle and
In 1999, the average incomes of the low, middle and high income
groups were $5,800, $30,300 and $83,600 respectively.
These income levels were 14%, 25% and 38% higher respectively
than they had been in 1993.
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