An alcohol advisory official has called for changes to the country's drinking culture after a survey revealed New Zealand teens are among the highest binge drinkers in the world.
The survey also showed during the past four weeks 69 per cent of 18-to-19-year-old females drank to excess compared to 68 per cent of males.
Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) chief executive Mike MacAvoy said the latest statistics were frightening.
About 125,000 teenagers under 17 fell into the category of binge drinkers, with 75,000 drinking once every two weeks and 50,000 at least once a week with the intention of getting drunk, the Southland Times reported today.
"We seriously need to change our drinking culture," Mr MacAvoy told the newspaper.
The survey also revealed police were called out to an alcohol-related incident every five-and-half minutes.