New measures to improve Aotearoa’s air quality

The Governments proposed amendments to air quality regulations are targeting improved air quality to support better health and environmental wellbeing.

Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says“Although our air quality is good in most places, during winter certain places have spikes in air pollution, mainly from burning wood and coal for home heating. This can have severe health impacts for several communities.”

“These health impacts can range from shortness of breath or coughing to chest pain, heart disease, lung disease or premature death from cardiovascular and respiratory problems.”

“Under the proposed amendments, households already using solid-fuel burner appliances for heating can keep using their existing burners until they reach the end of their life. If they choose to replace their burner, under the proposed regulations they may need to replace the appliance with a lower-emission burner. Households on large properties (over two hectares) will remain excluded from these requirements,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

“We are not proposing the removal of existing burners because we need to balance air quality improvements with the ability of households to maintain warm and dry homes.”

“The current National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES Air Quality) only targets PM10. Although this has been successful at improving our air quality, to really improve our air and health, the proposed amendments target PM2.5 which is already regulated in most developed countries.”

A two-month consultation on the amendments has opened.