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.

60% of New Zealanders has access to fluoridated water

In 2016–17, 60 percent of the population on registered drinking-water supplies had access to fluoridated drinking-water. This amounts to about 2.3 million people [1].

Figure 1: Percentage of population*  with access to fluoridated drinking-water by territorial authority, 2016-2017 (*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


  1. Ministry of Health. 2018. Annual Report on Drinking-water Quality 2016–2017. 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.
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