The Government has announced that a bill is likely to be introduced to Parliament later this year to allow district health boards rather than local authorities to decide on which community water supplies are fluoridated.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the change could benefit over 1.4 million New Zealanders who live in places where networked community water supplies are currently not fluoridated.
District health boards currently provide expert advice on fluoridation to local authorities.
"Moving the decision-making process from local councils to DHBs is recognition that water fluoridation is a health-related issue," Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says.
"Deciding which water supplies should be fluoridated aligns closely to DHBs' current responsibilities and expertise. It makes sense for DHBs to make fluoridation decisions for their communities based on local health priorities and by assessing health-related evidence."
The ministers say members of the public and organisations will have an opportunity to make submissions to the Health select committee as it considers the bill.