Health and Air Pollution
in New Zealand







Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study (2012)

Volume 1: Summary Report (0.7Mb PDF)
Volume 2: Technical Report (1.1Mb PDF)
Health Effects Model (12.1Mb Microsoft Excel) (if your browser does not automatically download this file please right click the link and save file to your hardrive. If using IE you will need to change the extension of the file from .html to .xlsx otherwise it will not open)
Health Effects Model (28.3Mb Microsoft Excel 97-2003 version)
HAPINZ Update Exposure Model (5.6Mb Microsoft Excel)
Users’ Guide to the Health Effects Model (0.3Mb PDF)

Air pollution health effects in New Zealand were first comprehensively assessed in the Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand (HAPINZ) study undertaken by Fisher et al. (2007).  In this original study, health effects were evaluated for 67 urban areas based on the 2001 population and ambient monitoring data.  The resulting social costs were presented in NZ$ as at June 2004.  The authors estimated that air pollution from all sources in New Zealand was responsible for approximately 1,400 premature deaths per year, of which 1,100 premature deaths were attributed to anthropogenic (human-caused) sources.
Since the release of the original HAPINZ study, both the data availability and the understanding of air pollution health effects have improved.  In particular, air quality monitoring is now undertaken in most urban locations in New Zealand – largely in response to the introduction of a national environmental standard for ambient PM10 concentrations in September 2005.
This report was commissioned to update the original study and is based on existing published work (detailed below), as new research was not conducted for this update:

  • population data taken from the 2006 census
  • recent monitoring, inventory and source apportionment data collected across New Zealand covering (or representing) ambient PM10 concentrations experienced in 2006 (averaged over 2006-2008)
  • recent epidemiological results for the main health impacts of air pollution exposure for key population sub-groups, e.g. Māori and children, as well as for the whole population and
  • updated social costs (in NZ$ as at June 2010), particularly the use of a transport risk (road safety) based value of a statistical life (VOSL), but not including any loss of life quality due to prolonged pain and suffering.

Final Report (June 2007)

Executive Summary (134Kb PDF)

Report (2Mb PDF)

Appendices (1.5Mb PDF)

Pilot Study (Sept 2005)

Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand: Christchurch Pilot Study (7.5Mb - pdf format)

A number of agencies, government departments and councils have become very interested in understanding more about the health effects of air pollution in New Zealand. Although it is not a problem on the same scale as in many other parts of the world, it is still an issue of concern.


The HAPINZ 2007 report was a large new study to determine what the health effects are, their causes, the costs associated with these effects, and the potential range of policy options to reduce them.

The project is a jointly funded initiative between the Health Research Council, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry for the Environment. The $1M project runs over three years and will feed a number of results back into various related projects and policy developments.

The research team comprised experts from NIWA, the Wellington Medical School, the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Australian National University, the University of Canterbury, Landcare Research, and private consultants and students. Some 20 people are involved, covering a range of specialities from basic air quality science, modelling, epidemiology, toxicology, economics, policy and Maori issues.

The project has been structured into discrete components, with strong links across the various activities. The first step is to assess the extent of air pollution, who it might be affecting, and when. The next step is to calculate the medical and biological effects on people. This part of the project is being supplemented with a new study, which is gauging specific effects on a group of school children in Christchurch. Once the effects are known, the costs and economic implications need to be assessed, and a range of actions and policy options suggested for improving the situation.

Initially we will conduct a prototype study on Christchurch, to get a better understanding of effects of poor air quality there and to trial the economic and policy assessment methodologies. Results will be published as they become available, with the full prototype study finished by the end of 2003.




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