New Zealand law states that alcohol can only be supplied (by others) to a person under the age of 18 years when express consent of the young person’s parent/guardian has been given. Click here to read the law.

If alcohol is provided to a minor (i.e. under 18 years) without express consent then penalties (a fine of not more than $2,000) apply.

Young people may obtain their alcohol from a number of sources - friends, older siblings, older peers, etc. Sometimes a minor might shoulder-tap an older person (>18 years) to buy alcohol for them. This can sometimes occur outside an alcohol outlet.

Watch the video called “Express consent and supervised drinking” at

If express consent has been given, any alcohol supplied must be done in a responsible manner. When considering whether alcohol was supplied in a responsible manner, the court may take into account the following (read the law here):

  1. the steps taken by the supplier to supervise the consumption of alcohol:
  2. whether food was provided with the alcohol:
  3. whether a choice of low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages, or both, was offered:
  4. the nature of the occasion:
  5. any arrangements for, or provision of, safe transport:
  6. the time period over which the alcohol was supplied:
  7. the strength and volume of the alcohol supplied:
  8. the age of the minor:
  9. any other matter it thinks relevant in the particular circumstances.

The Health Promotion Agency has developed a very useful resource on alcohol and young people.

HPA Resource Alcohol and your kids

If any consumption does occur, it is strongly advised that it is within the New Zealand low risk drinking guidelines, please click here.