Water Fluoridation

Tararua District Council is one of 14 Local Authorities that have been mandated by the Director-General of Health under section 116E of the Health Act 1956 to fluoridate drinking water supplies in Dannevirke by June 2024. Failure to comply with this directive can result in penalties.

At this stage, Tararua District Council has only been directed to fluoridate the Dannevirke water supply. However, the Director-General of Health is actively considering whether Woodville and Pahiatua Water supplies should also be mandated.

Tararua District Council have engaged Max Tarr to supply and install the plant in Dannevirke. Work is expected to commence in March-April 2024 and will be complete by 30 June 2024. The installation of the fluoridation plant is funded by the Ministry of Health.

We will continue to post regular updates on the progress of this project. Take a look at some of the useful links below for further information.

The answers provided in the FAQ section below regarding health have been verified by the Ministry of Health. For additional information on fluoride in drinking water from the Ministry of Health, please click here.

Project Updates

April 2024

Tararua District Council successfully requested to have the deadline extended from 30 June 2024 to 28 August 2024 due to delayed procurement processes.

Council’s negotiations with the Ministry of Health (MoH) resulted in full funding of the Dannevirke fluoridation plant with 70% of the funding already being released. Equipment has been arriving to allow for construction of the plant offsite with electrical and civil works being arranged to begin in mid-April for on site preparation work.

The construction of the Dannevirke fluoridation plant started offsite in January 2024 and is approximately 75% complete. Plant build is on schedule to be completed within the agreed time frame with an estimated delivery planned for mid-May 2024 where it will be installed on site and commissioned.

Commissioning and handover to Council contractors is planned for late July 2024 and to be fully operational by 28 August 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions


In deciding which local authorities and water supplies to focus on, Manatū Hauora considered a few things. They considered how many people use the water, the volume of water being used, and if the local government authority can add fluoride to the water.

The Health Act 1956 requires the Director-General of Health to consider the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of fluoridating the water in reducing tooth decay and whether the benefits for the community outweigh the costs.

Their decision was based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO and other international and national health and scientific experts endorse water fluoridation as the most effective public health measure for preventing dental decay. It is also recommended as an important contribution to health equity.

Click here for more information on fluoride and oral health from the Ministry of Health.

At this stage, Tararua District Council has only been directed to fluoridate the Dannevirke water supply. However, the Director-General of Health is actively considering whether to also issue a direction to fluoridate the Woodville and Pahiatua water supplies.

Dannevirke had an original compliance date of 30 June 2024.  this has subsequently been extended to 28 August 2024.

Manatū Hauora is funding the capital works costs for the local authorities who received a direction to fluoridate in July 2022.

Costs are yet to be finalised as the detailed design has yet to be confirmed by MOH. Suffice to say that TDC has sought to provide a design that will have the least amount of operational cost to the ratepayer by choosing bulk delivery and minimal operator involvement.


Currently scheduled to be installed from May 2024

Commissioned and handover of the new plant late July 2024

Fully operational 28 August 2024

Building footprint is approx. 4.8 x 3.6m

No. All houses on town water supply will receive fluoridated water.

In 2021, the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor confirmed that there are no significant adverse health effects arising from fluoridation levels used in New Zealand.

Fluoride exists naturally in air, soil, fresh water, sea water, plants and in food. In New Zealand natural fluoride levels in water supplies vary but are generally at a level less than 0.2mg/L.

Taumata Arowai (the water services regulator) provides national-level oversight of drinking-water safety, including monitoring and enforcing compliance of the Drinking Water Standards of New Zealand. Mandatory reporting of exceedances of the maximum acceptable value (MAV) for fluoride (1.5mg per litre) is required as part of this.

Click here for more information from the Ministry of Health about fluoride in drinking water.

The 2014 report, published by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, prepared jointly with the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, concluded that there are no adverse health effects of any significance from fluoridation levels used in New Zealand. This conclusion was reconfirmed in 2021.

Fluoride in drinking water acts like a constant repair kit for your teeth.

According to the Ministry of Health. It is estimated that drinking water fluoridation leads to 40% lower lifetime incidence of tooth decay among children and adolescents and a 48 percent reduction in hospital admissions for treating tooth decay among children aged 0-4 years. Click here for more information on fluoride and oral health from the Ministry of Health.

According to the Ministry of Health, the significance of poor oral health is often under-estimated. There is a body of evidence which suggests that poor oral health affects general health and is related to a number of risk factors and determinants that are common to other chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Poor oral health also has significant downstream consequences: a study reported in the American Journal of Public Health, for example, found that children with poorer oral health status were more likely to experience dental pain, miss school and perform poorly in school.

Section 116H of The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Act, states that if a local authority receives a direction to fluoridate its water supply, it is not required to consult with the community on any matter related to the direction.