Kiwi Survey Shows Nation in Denial

By Will Godfrey 12/29/11

Beer-swilling New Zealanders think they're less at risk than they really are.

The Pinocchio effect? Photo via

A poll of drinking habits in far-off New Zealand indicates just under 15% believe they booze too much. But experts say this hugely underestimates the true extent of the problem in a country which consumes 75.5 liters of beer alone per person per year. "Many Kiwis tend to underestimate their drinking to justify that they're not drinking excessively, and this could be what the poll result reflects," says Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams, pointing out that previous studies have found 25% of Kiwi adults drink harmfully. "We know that even small amounts of alcohol regularly can be quite harmful, but many drinkers would like to believe that only binge drinking is harmful."

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.