Community water fluoridation

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Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021

The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021, which came into effect in December 2021, allows the Director-General of Health to direct local authorities to add – or not to add – fluoride to a drinking-water supply. This enables a nationally consistent approach to community water fluoridation based on its well-established health benefits. 

Any local authority that receives a direction to fluoridate one of its drinking-water supplies must take all practicable steps to ensure the specified level of fluoride is present in that supply. Local authorities may also proactively choose to start fluoridating any un-fluoridated drinking water supplies and must continue with any fluoridation of drinking water supplies that existed before the amendment came into effect. 

In deciding whether to make a direction to fluoridate, the Director-General is required to consider: 

  • scientific evidence on the effectiveness of adding fluoride to drinking-water in reducing the prevalence and severity of dental decay 
  • whether the benefits of adding fluoride to drinking-water outweigh the costs, taking into account the oral health and size of the community as well as the financial costs including ongoing management and monitoring. 

For further information on the legislative and legal framework for community water fluoridation, see: 

Directions to fluoridate

The Director-General has issued 14 directions to local authorities to fluoridate community water supplies. This follows a process as described in the Health Act 1956.

Local authorities that received a direction to fluoridate in July 2022
Local authority  Water supply  Serviced population  Compliance date
Kawerau District Council  Kawerau 7,721 30-Jun-23
Hastings District Council  Hastings Urban 64,764 30-Jun-23
Horowhenua District Council  Levin 22,000 30-Apr-24
New Plymouth District Council  New Plymouth 66,562 31-Jul-23
Waipa District Council  Cambridge  21,794 31-Jul-23
Whangarei District Council Bream Bay 14,800 31-Aug-24
Whangarei 56,530 30-Jun-26
Rotorua Lakes Council Rotorua Central 44,000 30-Apr-24
Rotorua East 13,000 30-Apr-24
Nelson City Council Nelson 52,400 30-Apr-24
Far North District Council Kaitaia 5,400 30-Jun-24
Kerikeri 6,700 30-Jun-24
Auckland Council Onehunga 25,507 30-Jun-24
Waiuku 8,697 30-Jun-26
Tararua District Council Dannevirke 6,000 30-Jun-24
Waitaki District Council Oamaru 15,561 30-Jun-24
Tauranga City Council Tauranga 153,500 31-Jul-24
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Athenree 5,125 31-Jul-25
Wharawhara 5.7 31-Jul-25

Manatū Hauora has invited those local authorities that received directions in July 2022 to apply for funding for capital works. The compliance dates vary between 6 months and over 3 years, based on information provided by local authorities. 

Fluoridating these drinking-water supplies will increase the number of New Zealanders receiving fluoridated drinking-water from 51 percent to around 60 percent.  

For further details, see the Director-General of Health decisions to direct local authorities to fluoridate drinking water supplies. Please note some information has been withheld to protect the privacy of individuals, as is consistent with s.9(2)(a) of the Official Information Act 1982.

Will further directions to fluoridate drinking water be issued? 

On 3 November 2022 the Director-General wrote to 27 local authorities to advise that they are being actively considered for a direction to fluoridate in relation to one or more of their drinking-water supplies.  

In November 2022, a further 27 local authorities were advised the Director-General of Health is now considering whether to issue a direction to fluoridate in relation to one or more of their drinking-water supplies.

Drinking water supplies currently under active consideration for a direction to fluoridate (advised in November 2022)

Local authority 

Water supply 

Serviced population 

Ōpōtiki District Council 

Ōpōtiki 

4,530 

Far North District Council 

Kaikohe 

4,200 

Paihia 

4,000 

Kawakawa/Moerewa 

3,500 

Omapere 

900 

Okaihau 

800 

Rawene 

600 

Wairoa District Council 

Wairoa 

4,650 

Rotorua Lakes District Council 

Ngongotaha 

4,826 

Hamurana/Kaharoa 

1,700 

Reporoa 

1,060 

Rotoiti 

880 

Mamaku 

868 

Rotoma 

500 

Whakatane District Council 

Rangitaiki Plains 

2,897 

Otumahi 

2,841 

Murupara 

1,674 

Taneatua 

790 

Matata 

690 

Ruatoki 

560 

Kaipara District Council 

Dargaville 

4,683 

Maungaturoto 

980 

Taupō District Council 

Acacia Bay 

2,381 

Omori/Kuratau/Pukawa 

1,883 

Kinloch 

1,696 

Mangakino 

1,312 

Motuoapa 

739 

Ruapehu District Council 

Taumarunui 

4,870 

Ohakune 

1,500 

Raetihi 

749 

Waitomo District Council 

Te Kuiti 

4,612 

Piopio 

500 

South Waikato District Council 

Putaruru 

4,116 

Tirau 

700 

Horowhenua District Council 

Foxton 

2,700 

Foxton Beach 

1,900 

Shannon 

1,436 

Tokomaru 

550 

Whanganui District Council 

Whanganui 

39,775 

Rangitikei District Council 

Marton 

4,764 

Taihape 

1,584 

Bulls 

1,419 

Western Bay of Plenty District Council 

Muttons  

8,550 

Pongakawa 

4,850 

Ohouere 

2,250 

Youngson Road 

8,480 

Tahawai (linked with Athenree) 

7,240 

Waihi Beach (linked with Athenree) 

Tararua District Council 

Pahiatua 

2,700 

Woodville 

1,500 

Hauraki District Council 

Waihi 

4,927 

Paeroa 

4,887 

Kerepehi 

2,552 

Waitakaruru 

2,076 

Hastings District Council 

Haumoana / Te Awanga 

1,900 

Whirinaki – Hawkes Bay 

800 

Clive 

560 

Waimārama 

500 

Hutt City Council 

Petone 

7,491 

Korokoro 

1,482 

Napier City Council 

Napier 

59,055 

Buller District Council 

Westport 

4,974 

Reefton 

951 

Westland District Council 

Hokitika 

3,447 

Franz Josef 

2,611 

Kaikoura District Council 

Kaikoura 

2,500 

Waimate District Council 

Waimate 

3,000 

Hook/Waituna Rural 

1,350 

Marlborough District Council 

Blenheim 

24,028 

Picton / Waikawa 

4,185 

Renwick 

1,884 

Awatere 

1,333 

Riverlands Industrial 

740 

Havelock 

618 

Seddon 

535 

Timaru District Council 

Timaru City 

26,832 

Temuka 

4,620 

Downlands – Te Ana Wai 

4,550 

Geraldine 

2,121 

Te Moana Scheme 

1,650 

Pleasant Point 

1,200 

Seadown 

895 

Downlands-Waitohi 

700 

Dunedin City Council 

Waikouaiti 

1,642 

Outram 

750 

Queenstown Lakes District Council 

Queenstown 

25,271 

Wānaka 

13,633 

Arrowtown 

4,366 

Hawea 

3,767 

Lake Hayes 

3,743 

Arthurs Point 

1,631 

Glenorchy 

1,232 

Luggate 

855 

Manatū Hauora is mindful of current service delivery pressures across the water services and broader local government sectors. In light of this, if directions to fluoridate are issued to any further local authorities, they will have compliance dates set for after July 2024 when the new water service entities are due to be established as part of the Three Waters Reform.

Should the Director-General decide in due course to issue directions to fluoridate all drinking-water supplies currently under active consideration, this would result in 68 percent of New Zealanders receiving fluoridated drinking-water. If the DG were to issue directions to fluoridate to all local authorities with drinking water supplies servicing populations over 500, it would result in over 80 percent of New Zealanders receiving fluoridated drinking-water.

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