Alcohol breath tests drop almost 30 percent in five years

Police warn that anyone could be stopped for drink driving any time, anywhere - but new figures have put that suggestion in doubt.

The number of booze busts have dropped by a third - with police dropping 900,000 alcohol breath tests within five years.

In 2013/14 there were just over 3 million breath tests carried out, but in 2016/17 that figure dropped to 2.12 million - that's a drop of 29.8 percent in just five years.

Police Association president Chris Cahill blames the fall in the number of breath tests on a lack of police staff available to stand on the side of the road.

"They're just getting called away to do other urgent police matters and not having the time to invest in road policing that they think they should," he said.

Police told Newshub they are committed to removing intoxicated drivers from the roads, and that the decrease in the number of breath tests is due to an increased focus on targeted check points in high-risk areas.

The latest figures are a surprise to the Labour-led Government, which is blaming its predecessors.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said "we know that under the last Government the amount of money going to dedicated road policing decreased significantly, so I'm very hopeful that we should be able to increase that".

One in every three fatal road crashes in New Zealand involves alcohol.