$12 million to fluoridate more drinking water


Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health

Hon Peter Dunne

Associate Minister of Health


6 June 2017

Budget 2017 has committed $12 million over four years to fund the infrastructure needed to fluoridate more drinking water, say Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

“While New Zealand’s oral health has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, we still have high rates of preventable tooth decay,” says Dr Coleman.

“Public drinking water currently supplies about 85 per cent of the population. Of those on public water supplies, 54 per cent receive fluoridated water.

“Increasing access to fluoridated water will improve oral health and mean fewer costly trips to the dentist. We know that children have up to 40 per cent less tooth decay in fluoridated areas compared to areas without fluoride.

“This change would benefit over 1.4 million New Zealanders who live in areas where networked community water supplies are not currently fluoridated.”

“Budget 2017 funding commitment will support the implementation of legalisation currently before the House,” says Mr Dunne.

“The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill recognises that water fluoridation is a health-related issue and moves the decision-making process from local councils to DHBs.

“The funding will help cover the infrastructure costs if an area does not currently fluoridate its water, but is directed by a DHB to do so.

“Decisions would be based on the assessment of health-related evidence and local needs. Recognition that fluoridating water is the single-most important initiative to improve dental health, particularly child dental health, is long overdue and I’m sure this move will be welcomed by the wider community.”

The Bill is currently awaiting its second reading. Once passed, DHBs are expected to start making decisions about water fluoridation in 2018.

Media contact:
Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129 (Minister Coleman)
Rob Eaddy 027 459 6200 (Minister Dunne)




Last updated: Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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