Underage teens are drinking less than their counterparts were 10 years ago, but adults are not.

Binge drinking has decreased among 15-17 year olds over the last two years, with 3.2 per cent of teens in this age group consuming six or more units in one session every week.

In 2006/2007, 8.4 per cent of 15-17 year olds were in this category.

However, hazardous drinking across all age groups has increased over the last 10 years, according to the Ministry of Health.


Kevin Sinnott, spokesman for the Brewers Association, said there is anecdotal evidence of a change among young people.

"I have four teenage nieces and nephews and their attitude towards alcohol is vastly different to that of previous generations, mine included," he said.

Binge drinking among older age groups has risen since the first survey.

Ten years ago, 11 per cent of all people aged over 15 had consumed six or more drinks at least once a week.

That figure has risen to 12 per cent, as binge drinking has increased among older people.

Sinnott said attitudes to drinking had changed for the better in all age groups.

"The vast majority of New Zealanders now consume alcohol responsibly," he said.

"No longer is it socially acceptable to be intoxicated at a family barbecue, or be asked to leave a cricket ground because you are too drunk."

The highest rate of binge drinking was among 18-24 year olds - 20.4 per cent had six or more drinks on one occasion at least once a week in 2015/2016.

Sinnott said the reduction in teenage drinking was due to positive campaigns run by Government and the alcohol industry in recent years.

More than half of 15-17 year olds surveyed in 2015/2016 had consumed an alcoholic drink in the previous 12 months.