For young people under 18, it is best NOT to supply alcohol to them for as long as possible. Young people are often pressured to start drinking but the earlier they start, the greater the chance of them developing problems later. From around puberty through to their mid-20‘s, teenagers’ brains undergo a BIG redevelopment. This means their brains are more sensitive to alcohol and other drug use. Excessive alcohol can cause actual physical damage to their brain. Alcohol also interferes with their learning, causing both short- and long-term memory problems and can also lead to higher stress levels and risk of depression and suicide.
The minimum legal age for purchasing alcohol in New Zealand is 18 years, but there is no legal drinking age in this country. However, the law says you cannot supply alcohol to someone under the age of 18 years unless:
You could be fined up to $2,000 if you don't follow the law.
To supply alcohol to under-18s responsibly you should:
When deciding if alcohol is supplied responsibly you are required to consider:
If you're supplying alcohol to an under 18 year old who is not your child, you'll need to ensure you have express consent from their parent or legal guardian before giving them alcohol.
Express consent may include a personal conversation, an email or a text message that you have good reason to believe is genuine.
A person is only considered a minor's guardian if he or she is recognised as a guardian under the Care of Children Act 2004.
Frequently asked questions for parents