When you've got time on your hands, for many of us it seems an obvious choice to enjoy a few more drinks.

Whether or not you've been making plans for Friday drinks online and log into a Zoom happy hour with friends, lockdown is seeing us all adjusting to a new way of life.

But a new campaign warns we should be wary of overdoing it.

Responsible drinking advocate Cheers NZ is launching a digital project encouraging Kiwis to #drinknormal during lockdown.


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The campaign is designed to remind us to stick to our usual drinking habit and follow Ministry of Health guidelines. It also wants parents to be aware of how drinking might affect their kids.

Spokesman Matt Claridge says the Covid-19 lockdown has seen an increase in Kiwi parents having online drinking sessions with mates through apps like Houseparty.

"What we know from our research is that parents are the greatest influencers on the drinking behaviours of their children who adopt the attitudes and relationship their parents have to alcohol," Claridge says.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"If a parent regularly reaches for the bottle as stress relief – or indulges in a few more drinks than they should – their child is likely to develop a similar relationship to alcohol.

"A drink now and then is fine, but it's important – especially during this lockdown period – that you think about why and how you're drinking alcohol in front of your kids."

What with the anxiety of isolation, job losses, business closures, and being cooped up with family for such a long time, it's easy for people to drink more than they should, Claridge says.

"Mental health is important for parents and there are many ways to relieve stress. Research tells us that we change our drinking personality when under stress and drink to escape. The reality is, alcohol won't change the situation."


Ministry of Health guidelines recommend two standard drinks per day for women, and no more than three standard drinks per day for men, with at least two alcohol-free days per week.

Cheers.org.nz has more information and resources about drinking during lockdown. It's run by charity The Tomorrow Project, an alcohol industry-funded organisation aiming for a better drinking culture in New Zealand.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.