Wood and coal fires
This section provides statistics on the wood and coal fires for home heating in New Zealand households.
Wood and coal fires are a major source of air pollution in most New Zealand urban areas. Wood and coal fires produce particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other organic compounds. Reducing the emissions from wood and coal fires is likely to improve outdoor air quality.
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Fewer households used wood and coal fires for home heating in 2013, compared with 2006.
In 2013, about a third of homes used wood fires for home heating (37 percent), a drop from 41 percent in 2006.
Coal fire use was much less common in New Zealand, and becoming less frequent over time. In 2013, about 61,000 homes (4 percent) used a coal fire, compared with about 98,000 homes (7 percent) in 2006.
Households in the South Island are more likely to use wood or coal fires than those in the North Island. Coal fires tend to be used more in the West Coast and the Waikato.
Figure 2: Proportion of households using wood fires as a source for home heating, by territorial authority, 2013
Figure 3: Proportion of households using coal fires as a source for home heating, by territorial authority, 2013
For more geographic data about wood and coal fires, visit the CPHROnline Environmental Health Indicators index webpage.
In 2006, air pollution from wood and coal fires was associated with an estimated 655 premature deaths in New Zealand.
Air pollution from home heating was also associated with an estimated 334 extra hospital admissions for respiratory (lung) and cardiovascular (heart) diseases.
Number of wood and coal fires
Source: New Zealand Census (1996, 2001, 2006, 2013) – Statistics New Zealand
Definition: Number of private dwellings that reported using a wood or coal fire as a source of home heating. Multiple responses were allowed.
For more information, visit the Statistics New Zealand 2013 Census QuickStats about housing
1. Kuschel G, Metcalfe J, Wilton E, Guria J, Hales S, Rolfe K, et al. 2012. Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study. Volume 1: Summary report. Prepared by Emission Impossible and others for Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Transport, Ministry for the Environment, and NZ Transport Agency. Available online: http://www.hapinz.org.nz