Access to fluoridated drinking-water

This section provides information about the population with access to fluoridated water in New Zealand.

Fluoride can be added to water as a public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride in drinking-water helps to reduce tooth decay, and slow down and repair early signs of tooth decay.

On this page:

One in two New Zealanders has access to fluoridated water

Access to fluoridated water is mainly in cities

 One in two New Zealanders has access to fluoridated water

In 2015–16, 60 percent of the population on registered drinking-water supplies had access to fluoridated drinking-water. This amounts to about 2.3 million people, or about 50 percent of the New Zealand population [1].

Figure 1: Percentage of population*  with access to fluoridated drinking-water by territorial authority, 2015-2016 (*among the population on registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people)

Access to fluoridated water is mainly in cities

Most people who have access to fluoridated drinking-water live in cities. This is because people in cities are more likely to have a reticulated water supply. Water fluoridation is also only cost-effective with a minimum population size of around 1000 people [2].

Over half of those who receive fluoridated drinking-water live in the greater Auckland region.

Of the other major cities in New Zealand, Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin have the greatest percentage population with access to fluoridated drinking-water. The drinking-water supply of Christchurch city is not fluoridated.

See a map of fluoridated water supplies on the Drinking Water for New Zealand website

References

  1. Ministry of Health. (2017). Annual Report on Drinking-water Quality 2015–2016. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  2. Wright J, Bates M, Cutress T, Lee M. (2001). The cost-effectiveness of fluoridating water supplies in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 25(2):170-8.