A crackdown on supplying booze to minors has cut the number of drinks under-18s are getting, but the amounts are still "alarmingly high", the authors of a new study say.

The Massey University study shows friends are now supplying an average of 11 drinks to their mates aged under 18, compared to 13 drinks in 2013.

The drop follows a law change (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012) which made it illegal to supply alcohol to under-18s without consent from a parent or guardian. It also required supply to be done responsibly, which could include supervising those drinking.

Senior researcher Dr Taisia Huckle, from Massey's SHORE and Whariki Research Centre, said the change was positive but 11 drinks was still "far too high".


Is social media preventing teens from smoking, drinking and taking drugs?
New Zealander drinking culture: 'Too much, too fast, too young'

More friends also said they supervised the minors while drinking, according to the study, which was funded by the Health Promotion Agency.

Two national general population surveys of drinkers were analysed before and after the law change, which came into effect on December 1, 2013.

Massey University senior researcher Dr Taisia Huckle says the amount of alcohol supplied to minors is still
Massey University senior researcher Dr Taisia Huckle says the amount of alcohol supplied to minors is still "far too high". Photo / Supplied

The surveys asked social suppliers how much, how often and to which under-18s they supplied alcohol in 2013 and 2015.

They found 48 per cent were supplying drinks to their children and 28 per cent to other relatives. Twenty-two per cent gave drinks to their under-18 friends, down from 30 per cent before the law changed.

After the law change friends usually supplied 11 drinks, compared to 13 drinks before. Parents, by comparison, gave their kids an average of six drinks. Both parents and friends were more likely to supervise the under-18s after the law changed.

The top 10 per cent of suppliers usually provided the equivalent of 20 stubbie beer bottles. Three quarters of suppliers said they did not think the alcohol they supplied would be shared.

Following the law change, decrease in the frequency of social supply to under-18s was found – from around once every seven weeks to once every nine weeks.

"The reductions in social supply to friends following the law change represents an improvement.


"However, the quantities supplied to friends and their under-age children are still too high, which reinforces the need for affirmative action on social supply at the policy, family and whanau and wider community level," Huckle said.