Police investigate alcohol giveaways to students

Police chat with students during Orientation Week. Photo: NZ Police via X
Police chat with students during Orientation Week. Photo: NZ Police via X
Police are investigating reports that alcohol companies are giving away free drinks to university students in exchange for promotion on social media.

Last week, a Dunedin flat was reported to have received 280 1.2-litre bottles of alcoholic lemonade, and a Christchurch student was given six bottles for her 21st birthday party.

The reports come as orientation weeks marking the start of the university year - more commonly known as Flo Week, followed by "O Week" - happen at universities around the motu.

In a statement, police said they were continuing to investigate reports of alcohol giveaways.

"However, we do not endorse this behaviour as there are strict regulations around the sale and supply of alcohol."

Young people away from home for the first time and in large social gatherings were more vulnerable to alcohol harm, the statement said.

Companies that did not comply with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act may be prosecuted.

But the police statement added that they aimed to strike a balance between enforcement and education with the public and liquor providers.

"Police want everybody to have a good time while keeping themselves and others safe."

In a statement, Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association said it was not aware of any problems with its students being targeted by alcohol advertising.

The statement said liquor brands wanting to advertise with VUWSA were restricted, but gave no further details.

"During O-Week, and at all times, we stress to our student body the importance of safe alcohol consumption," it said.