A Taupō mum is shocked at how easily her 15-year-old daughter was able to buy wine on the internet and have it delivered to her house.

The mother, who the Herald agreed not to name, believes current rules give online retailers a free pass to flout laws forbidding the sale of alcohol to those under 18.

She said her daughter had been shopping on online retailer 1-day.co.nz on Monday night when an advertisement popped up for 1-day.co.nz Bottle - the site's online liquor arm.

Clicking through, her daughter began browsing through wines, beers and sweetly-flavoured spirits selling for as little as $4.


Underage teens' access to alcohol becoming 'out of control' in Dunedin
Frequent teen drinking leads to problems with alcohol and drug use in adulthood, study finds
Teens face ban on takeaway alcohol

When she told her father she could buy a bottle of wine, he was also curious whether it was possible and told her to give it a go.

The daughter was asked twice to click yes to confirm she was 18 - once on entering the site and once just before buying the bottle - but otherwise faced no other checks.

Two days later her bottle arrived on the family's doorstep.

"I thought, 'you've got to be kidding me'," the mum said.

"You can buy beer, spirits and wine online, and you don't have to be 18 - you've just got to tick yes."

Wine Central manage the online liquor sales for 1-day.co.nz, processing the deliveries from a warehouse in Albany in Auckland.

A manager with Wine Central, who didn't want to be named, understood Fraser's concern but said his company held a valid licence to sell alcohol and followed the law.


According to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, companies selling alcohol on the internet needed to obtain a so-called remote seller off-site licence.

This required them to take reasonable steps to verify both the buyer and receiver of alcohol were 18-years or older.

Those reasonable steps simply included asking a buyer to tick a box declaring they are 18 or over when they enter the site and then asking again just before the sale of any alcohol was completed.

The woman said she was shocked the law was so lax.

"I know the training I had to go through to get my liquor licence to work in a dairy that sold alcohol," she said.

"And we can't sell it unless we sight a photo ID or driver's licence - there's so many things you need to be careful of."

At one place where the mum worked, the owner checked a customer's ID and asked them how old they were but didn't notice the ID was incorrect.

It turned out to be a police sting and the shop was fined.

The Wine Central manager said he wouldn't object if the family campaigned to change the law so that all delivered alcohol was signed for.

His company used to do that but most customers were at work during the day and had to have their alcohol redelivered.

"They were saying, 'why the hell can't you leave it on the doorstep'," he said.

Dr Nicki Jackson, the executive director of Alcohol Healthwatch, said countries around the world were all grappling with this issue.

"Everybody is now looking at what the regulation should be looking like in terms of online sales because compliance is very difficult," she said.

Research overseas had shown some online websites regularly sold to underage children, while some districts in the United States had banned the online sale of alcohol, she said.

It was important to get the rules right because alcohol was the most harmful drug for young people, both damaging their brains and leaving them prone to taking risks while impaired, Jackson said.