NZ Government, 7 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
"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
"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.
Notes to editors:
Around 2.3 million New Zealanders currently have access to
Fluoride occurs naturally in water supplies, however New Zealand
levels are generally low compared to other countries, meaning
additional fluoridation is needed to generate optimum health
results. The World Health Organization recommends boosting fluoride
to optimum levels.
In 2014 the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor and the Royal
Society of New Zealand, assisted by a panel of experts, concluded
there is compelling evidence that fluoridation of water at the
recommended levels produces broad benefits for the dental health of
A recent report by Sapere Research Group found New Zealanders
living in fluoridated drinking-water areas had:
- 40 per cent lower lifetime incidence of tooth decay among
children and adolescents;
- 48 per cent reduction in hospital admissions for the treatment
of tooth decay among children aged 0 to 4 years;
- 21 per cent reduction in tooth decay among adults aged 18 to 44
- 30 per cent reduction in tooth decay among adults aged 45 years