Reducing alcohol-related harm in Canterbury

The Canterbury DHB employed a dedicated Alcohol Harm Minimisation Coordinator from 2012 to 2016 in response to their alcohol position statement. The role was established to build strong partnerships across the region and to contribute to the development of activities to reduce alcohol-related harm locally.

It is recognised that this work is required both within and beyond the health sector. The Health in All Policies Team at Community and Public Health have now taken up many of the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Coordinator’s tasks, in order to support a multi-sector approach.

Strategy and service development

The Canterbury DHB is currently developing a Health System Alcohol-related Harm Reduction Strategy in conjunction with primary care and relevant non-government organisations. The aims of this strategy will be to:

  • reduce and prevent alcohol-related harm in Canterbury,
  • coordinate harm reduction activities across the health system,
  • build links between the different organisations and services involved, and
  • guide future initiatives.

The Canterbury DHB has also contracted a Central Coordination Service for Alcohol and Other Drugs that has improved referral response times for treatment.

The Strategy is being developed in alignment with a “Christchurch Alcohol Action Plan”. This Action Plan provides an overarching approach for greater Christchurch, to coordinate harm reduction activities across sectors going forward.

View examples of Community and Public Health’s alcohol-related activities, including alcohol licensing and health promotion.

Working collaboratively through strong partnerships

Examples of collaborative work around alcohol-related harm within Canterbury include:

  • the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Advisory Group;
  • the South Island Alliance Alcohol Work Group
  • the Tri-agency working group for the Christchurch Alcohol Action Plan - Canterbury DHB, Christchurch City Council and NZ Police;
  • the development of provisional Local Alcohol Policies (LAPs);
  • promotion of host responsibility in bars and restaurants;
  • targeted workplace programmes in the construction industry;
  • collaborative social marketing campaigns such as “Be a Legend this Summer”;
  • Christchurch City Council and Community and Public Health collaborating around applications for Alcohol Licences; and
  • A coordinated single-point referral service for all local treatment providers.

View the promotional poster for the “Be a Legend this Summer” campaign.

Development of Local Alcohol Policies

Councils have over the past four years worked collaboratively to produce their own Local Alcohol Policies under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to regulate accessibility and availability of alcohol. These are at various stages of implementation.

Get further information on Local Alcohol Policies in Canterbury, including their current status:

Looking forward: proposed future developments

The Christchurch rebuild has provided a unique opportunity to reframe alcohol use and creating a built environment that supports the health of Cantabrians.

The Christchurch City Council’s Long-Term Plan 2015-2025 sets out the Council’s aspiration to create a “liveable city”. Key to developing a strong and vibrant central city is to reframe alcohol use while still reducing harm.[1]

The Health System Strategy to reduce Alcohol-related Harm Working Group will develop a newsletter with all latest news and developments to reduce local alcohol-related harm.

[1] Christchurch City Council. 2015. Amendments to the Long Term Plan 2015–2025: Christchurch Ōtautahi. Retrieved from: