It's important for "parents to have choice" whether to drink alcohol at school events as part of role modelling drinking well, Cheers NZ executive director Matt Claridge says.
Debate has raged about the place of alcohol at school events after strong opposition from health professionals resulted in a small Hawke's Bay school withdrawing its application to the council to sell alcohol at a fundraiser.
"For Parents to have choice, I think that's fairly important, but also the environment they create and the way they role model drinking is the single biggest influencer on kids as they grow up," Mr Claridge told TVNZ1's Breakfast.
"We've got a responsibility to help encourage the right attitude in them and not to bury the issue away and think that it will take care of itself."
Mr Claridge said research had indicated that over half of New Zealand children aged 15 to 17 have had a drink of alcohol in the last year and parents needed to shape the attitudes of their children towards drinking.
"There's good research that kids as young as 12 or 13 are starting to form an attitude or may even have had a taste of alcohol itself."
"What we've got to do is shape their attitude so that by the time they get to age 18 they actually know what responsible drinking is and drinking in moderation looks like."