A lower blood-alcohol limit for drivers will be back on the Government's agenda soon as part of a new road safety strategy.
Justice Minister Simon Power said the strategy would "address the issue" of New Zealand's legal limit of 0.8 grams of alcohol for each litre of blood.
The limit in Australia is 0.5g a litre and the New Zealand police have an official policy that the same limit should be adopted here.
Australian guidelines say men can have two "standard drinks" - equal to two 330ml cans of beer at 4 per cent alcohol - and women one drink in the first hour and stay under the 0.5g limit. Both sexes can have up to one further standard drink an hour after that.
New Zealand's 0.8g limit allows men up to four drinks and women up to three in the first hour, and a further drink every subsequent hour.
Police Assistant Commissioner Viv Rickard says New Zealand's limit is too high and out of step with other countries, "so we need to change that".
The Ministry of Health-financed agency Alcohol Healthwatch, which works with the police and injury prevention groups, said it had received letters supporting a change from the North Shore and Waitakere city councils.
The Auckland City Council had promised to also send a support letter.
"We are getting quite a strong message that there is support for this," said Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams.
Mr Power said he had discussed the issue with Transport Minister Steven Joyce, and remained "open-minded".
"If I thought it would make a real difference I would support it," he said. "I don't know either way.
"I think it's worth having the discussion, and so does the Minister of Transport."
Despite a halving of the road toll in the past 20 years, which is mainly attributed to the campaign against drink-driving, police figures show that the number of people being caught for drink-driving has risen in the past five years - up from 25,133 in 2003 to 34,700 in the first 11 months of last year - after being stable for 15 years.
A 2004 World Health Organisation survey of blood alcohol limits in 109 countries found that New Zealand, Britain and the United States, all with 0.8g limits, were among 26 per cent of countries with limits above 0.6g.
Thirty-nine per cent had limits of between 0.4 and 0.6g, 28 per cent had limits below 0.4, and 7 per cent, including China, set no limits.
The blood-alcohol limit was changed from 1g of alcohol a litre of blood to 0.8g in 1978.
In April 1993, the limit for drivers aged under 20 years was reduced to 0.3g.
Alcohol Healthwatch says fatal road accidents dropped 18 per cent in Queensland after it adopted 0.5g in 1983.