Report on New Zealand's air pollution

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2007

Air pollution in New Zealand claims thousands of lives every year and costs the country billions of dollars, said a recent report.

A four-year study found that one in 20 people die earlier than they would have since air pollution claims 1,300 lives in New Zealand each year and costs the country around us $1 billion a year. The study was conducted by more than 28 science and health experts from New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand's Health Research Council and its environment and transport ministries funded the around us $800,000 study.

The study noted that bad air increased natural death rates per thousand people by nearly 5 per cent, with Nelson city the worst-hit area nationally and Christchurch the worst major city in the country. The biggest cause of pollution-related early deaths was said to be home fires except in Auckland where the main cause was vehicular emissions.The report used the 2001 census figures and studied 67 urban areas, covering three-quarters of the population.

New Zealand's environment minister David Benson-Pope said the report emphasised the need for councils to work toward air quality standards.

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