The drinking culture in NZ does seem very heavy to me. I think 95% of my friends in NZ drink, but when I went back to Asia for a vacation, I found none of my old friends drank either.
Before I left for NZ, I only ever saw people drink wine at church (had a gathering after mass each week) and that was it - definitely had not seen anyone get "drunk" until I got to NZ.
Personally my parents do not drink. However when I was 14 or so, they got me a variety of alcoholic beverages and told me to take a sip of each because they didn't want me to feel like they limited my choices growing up possibly resulting in a rebellious phase. Honestly the taste was so horrid to me that I have never wanted to take another sip of anything alcoholic again.
When I got to high school, my mates were super excited about hitting the drinking age, and by uni they were partying heaps and blackout drunk every week. I often feel that maybe if my parents didn't let me try a bit of alcohol that young, that possibly I could have become like my friends due to the peer pressure so I'm very thankful.
My thoughts these days are: why would I drink with the chance of getting drunk/blackout, risk my health and tolerate the awful taste when I could just eat a bowl of nuggets which is also unhealthy but at least taste good and leaves my brain alert.
I guess everyone's taste buds are different and some drink to relax or even 'drown out' what they feel (I don't know what that feels like since I've never gotten drunk), but if I've never gone there, then I won't really long for that feeling and will just cope with things like I do now i.e. sports, friends, gaming ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I'm not sure whether raising/lowering the limit would help. It seems pretty ingrained in people that drinking = cool or a must have at parties. Call me crazy, but my non drinking friends and I just make smoothies at our 'parties' :P