In 2011 the Ministry of Health commissioned research to investigate the alcohol purchasing patterns of heavy drinkers. The research informed consideration of a minimum pricing regime for alcohol by testing in the New Zealand context. International evidence indicates that heavy drinkers are the dominant purchasers of the cheapest alcohol.
The research found that while heavy drinkers purchased alcohol in the cheapest range more frequently than moderate or light drinkers did, the proportion of purchasing by heavy drinkers within the cheapest range was around 27%. In other words, 73% of the alcohol purchased by the heaviest drinkers was found not to be purchased from within the cheapest price bracket.
This report contributed to the Ministry of Justice’s Alcohol minimum pricing report.