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15 January 2018


Issue 3 - January 2018

This Healthy Policies Update is brought to you by the Healthy Policies Team at Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora).  This bi-annual update showcases the support available to council planners, advisors and policy makers, who are helping create healthy communities across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts where people live, learn, work and play.  It provides information about the latest evidence, data and tools, and local and national innovative case studies.

This update is available in both e-copy and hardcopy.  To subscribe to the e-update, please click here or to request a hardcopy please email

Please circulate this update and subscription invitation to your colleagues and any relevant stakeholders.

In this update:

From Catchment to Consumer - Quality Drinking Water For All

Following the Havelock North drinking water outbreak it is more important than ever that the public have confidence in the quality of the water they are drinking. 

The Knowledge, Attitude and Perception Survey (KAP survey) carried out by Toi Te Ora across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes in early 2016, indicated that 40% of those surveyed, had a high, or very high, level of concern about the quality of the drinking water available in their community. 

Contaminated drinking water is water that has become mixed with  bacteria, dirt or other material that may, if there is enough of it, be harmful to those who drink it.  Water supplied from the majority of council owned and operated drinking water supplies are considered to be safe.  Water from other sources other than council supplies may be of unknown quality or suffer from a lack of supply (volume) issues.  This is why, whenever possible, council owned community water supplies should be extended to connect the maximum number of households and buildings possible.  This way, more people will be protected from disease which means  the wider community will benefit from less disease in the community. 

Every house and occupied building needs an adequate and safe supply of water that is convenient for its occupants to use to meet the requirements of the health and building acts.  The Health, Building, and Resource Management Acts all support the acheivement of this.  Buildings are not supposed to be built, renovated, sold or rented as a dwelling without a suitable supply of water.  A building without a safe and adequate supply of water means the buildngis insanitary and is a nuisance to health.

To prevent insanitary or nuisance situations arising, we all need to work together when developing plans, policies and rules to manage built environments, especially housing.  Increasing agency coordination of building and resource consent approval processes would help ensure enough water is supplied, and in the way most protective of health for the lifetime of the building.  We would  reduce the likelihood of creating insanitary conditions and also reduce the number of people who become unwell from using and drinking unsafe water. 

Ensuring a suitable water supply early on in the subdivision or builidng process is one way we can work together to ensure the community receives quality drinking water that is protective of health over a lifetime.

For more information visit

Toi Te Ora and Local Government - Collaborating to Ensure Lifelong Wellbeing for All

Planning for Positive Outcomes - Local Government's Influence on Public Health

Health begins where we live, learn, work and play so it’s not surprising local government is one of the most important and powerful influences on the health and wellbeing of communities.  Council decisions affect the determinants of health, meaning councils have the ability to influence and improve community health.  Health needs to be considered across all sectors, as 80-90% of what determines our health is beyond the influence of the health sector.

Toi Te Ora is committed to enhancing our work with councils.  In the lead up to upcoming Long Term Plan processes, Toi Te Ora staff have been proactively engaging with local government to further strengthen partnerships.  This has included regular meetings with chief executives and council staff, as well as presentations to councillors to highlight public health linkages and spark ideas for further collaboration.  Interactions have emphasised closely aligned visions and connections.

New Strategic Direction for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board has recently developed a new strategic direction for the next 10 years, outlining how they intend to progress towards their vision. Patients, family and whānau are at the heart of the plan. 

The plan has three objectives; to get well, stay well, and live well. The objective ‘Live Well’ is closely linked with the work of local government because it aims to empower our population to live healthy lives through supportive environments and communities.

The Live Well objective focuses on smoking cessation, childhood obesity, healthy homes and Health in all Policies work, which encourages working in partnership with local government.  A detailed Health and Service Profile accompanies the plan and includes a wide range of demographic and health related data. 

To discuss more contact your local Healthy Policies team member,



Public Health Information at your Finger Tips

Are you interested in learning more about the support Toi Te Ora offers councils?  Or how the Health in All Policies approach can be applied to your policy development?  Toi Te Ora has two new webpages that provide councils, community organisations, and the general public direct access to evidence, information and resources on healthy public policy development.

Healthy Policies: Information on what the Healthy Policies team does can be found under the What We Do, Health Promotion section of the Toi Te Ora website. These pages give information, advice and resources on the issues we work collaboratively with councils on, such as smokefree outdoor spaces, food security, and the built environment.

Health in All Policies: The Health in All Policies page under the How We Work section of the Toi Te Ora website details the approach we aim for on developing public policies across sectors.  This approach systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity.  It also assists policy makers by improving accountability at all levels of policy decision making.

If you have any feedback on these web pages, or would like to see particular content included please email the Healthy Policies Team,

Health at the Front and Centre in Western Bay

The health of the Western Bay community will be front and centre of any future urban development following a recently-signed agreement between Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB), Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Education. This multiple agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) represents the first time Health has played such a prominent role in planning major new housing developments. 

It provides BOPDHB with the opportunity to identify health opportunities and issues early on in the planning stage and to provide input on the recommended health service infrastructure for our new communities (such as those being established in Papamoa East, Tauriko West and Omokoroa).
Healthcare is only one part of what determines our health.  The impact the modern urban environment has on our health is becoming more widely understood.

For example, research shows that communities with greater access to cycling and walking opportunities, social destinations close to home (e.g. schools, workplaces, shops and reserves), and affordable, quality housing have better health and wellbeing outcomes. 

The MOU represents recognition of the mutual benefits of working in partnership.  All involved recognise that in order to have healthy communities and deliver on each organisation’s strategies, the following needs to be provided for:

  • A balanced transport system which provides a variety of transport choices

  • education facilities and health services and facilities

  • the principles, planning and policy setting considerations required to create liveable communities and healthy urban environments that promote well-being for all;

  • the provision of community facilities.

This MOU has been signed at a time when there are a significant range of planning projects underway in both Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty, including new/expanded urban growth areas and delivery of a more compact city.

Smokefree Zones Stick Out

Although there has been global growth in outdoor smokefree areas, little is known about the effectiveness of associated smokefree signage.  For this reason, the Smokefree Outdoor Research Team in the Department of Public Health at Otago University recently undertook research regarding smokefree signage at children’s playgrounds.

The research found that even when there are smokefree policies in place, there are often no signs or ineffective signage promoting the policy.  The study identified some common oversights with signage including:

  • signs that are too small

  • signs that lack visibility from a distance

  • lack of clarity and noticeability in sign design

  • signs that are overly wordy

  • lack of effective symbols used.

The study identified that the Porirua City Council smokefree signage had many good features, including being positive, colourful, and utilising good imagery and messaging.  A great example of this being done locally is Whakatāne District Council’s playground smokefree signage (see image on right).

Another innovative approach to smokefree signage has been developed by Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) which has brightened their footpaths with signage that supports their message of being a smoke and vape free environment.  Bright green, circle stickers have recently been attached to all footpaths around the hospital sites.

“The stickers are simple, easy to install, and stand out much more than the signage on our walls.  We have been getting an increase in enquiries about our smokefree policy which is an indication of their effectiveness” Karyn Borman, Smokefree Coordinator, BOPDHB.

Signage is an important tool to communicate smokefree policies.  These policies help contribute to achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal by normalising smokefree in public places.

Smokefree signage also reminds individuals about where they cannot smoke, and empowers others to ask people to stop smoking in smokefree spaces.

For more information about Toi Te Ora Public Health

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Last modified: 06 Mar 2018
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