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To: Hon Nanaia Mahuta – as Minister for Local Govt

Provide water fountains in all public places

Provide water fountains in all public places

Dear Ministers,

We call on you to legislate that all councils must install and service public drinking fountains in 50 per cent of public playgrounds, parks and sports grounds.

Easy access to safe drinking water in outdoor spaces is an important public health and environmental issue and an essential community service.
Making water fountains compulsory in public places will make it easier to find free drinking water when out, encourage better health for our communities and reduce plastic pollution from bottled drinks.

Why is this important?

“One of the worst days in my dental career was when I had to remove 10 teeth in one surgical procedure from an 18 month-old baby, still in nappies,” says Dr Beaglehole. (Principal dental officer at Nelson Marlborough Health).
Lack of access to public drinking fountains and prominent marketing of sugary drinks create an environment where it’s often easier to find somewhere to buy bottled drinks than find a drinking fountain, increasing the consumption of sugary drinks and bottled water and with it increased obesity, dental decay and plastic pollution which is killing our marine life.
Its hard to imagine but last year 8,700 children in NZ had to be hospitalised to have their teeth removed, due to dental decay and the main reason is sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks are also a big contributor to our high rates of obesity and obesity is a recognised risk factor for severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19, and obese people are nearly 50% more likely to die from Covid 19.*
A recently released UNICEF report, found that New Zealand has the second highest obesity rate in the OECD. More than one in three children are overweight or obese, with Pasifika (66.5%) and Māori (48.2%) children facing the highest risk . We are also seeing a rise in Type-2 diabetes in children we huge long term health risks.
This could be avoided with better access to free tap water when people are out –by councils putting in more public drinking fountains. Currently there is only one drinking fountain for every 3,135 people and as few as one fountain for every 17,000 people in the worst-affected area.
Paying for bottled drinks on the go, when good quality tap water should be readily available free-of-charge via drinking fountains, is an unnecessary expense for Kiwi families, especially with the economic impact of COVID-19

With the recent establishment of Taumata Arowai, the new Crown Entity to regulate water, there is an opportunity for central government to act urgently to make tap water the first and most convenient choice for New Zealanders.
“Taumata Arowai’s objectives and functions includes protecting and promoting water-related public health outcomes.
So we’re calling on government to act and make drinking fountains compulsory in half of all public parks, sports fields, and playgrounds.”

SIGN NOW as we have a unique chance for new legislation to be introduced when the new government comes in.

👎 Councils have neglected to provide access to public drinking fountains where they are needed.

👎 With an average of just one drinking fountain for every 3,303 people and as few as one fountain for every 17,000 people in the worst-affected areas.

👎 As few as one in five children’s playgrounds, and less than one in 10 parks, have water fountains.*

👎👎 Data shows low-income communities often have fewer public drinking fountains per person than more economically affluent areas, reducing choice and affecting Māori and Pasifika health outcomes.

⚠ Kiwis consume up to six times the recommended daily sugar intake, with 25 per cent coming from sugary drinks, one 600ml soft / sports drink contains up to 16 teaspoons of sugar – more than five times the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily intake of sugar for a child, in one hit.

⚠ Contributing to our high rates of obesity, with than one in three children overweight or obese. (UNICEF)

⚠ In 2019, the number one reason why Kiwi kids were admitted to a New Zealand hospital was to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

⚠An international team of researchers found that people with obesity who contracted COVID-19 were:
• 113% more likely than people of healthy weight to be admitted to hospital,
• 74% more likely to require treatment in ICU, and
• 48% more likely to die.

👎 Single-use plastic bottles are also a major contributor to plastic pollution on our beaches and waterways, killing our marine and bird life.
In Aotearoa, we throw away an estimated 838 million plastic bottles every year - the equivalent of 165 Olympic swimming pools.

👍 Councils are the ones legally responsible for providing clean drinking water and need to increase their level of investment in public drinking fountains.

👍 Improving drinking fountain provision in low-decile areas, on sports grounds, and in parks and children’s playgrounds can help reduce the consumption of bottled drinks and help fight sugar-related health issues and single-use plastic waste.

SIGN NOW as we have a unique chance for new legislation to be introduced.

How it will be delivered

Personally deliver it to either of the Ministers.


2020-09-15 07:37:23 +1200

100 signatures reached

2020-08-21 08:57:17 +1200

50 signatures reached

2020-08-13 08:50:22 +1200

25 signatures reached

2020-08-06 11:53:06 +1200

10 signatures reached