Seems a sensible move on solid fuel burners but won’t change anything

NZ Herald overhypes a sensible move to eventually phase out inefficient wood and coal burners: Government moves to ban old-style wood and coal-fueled burners to improve air quality

The Government is cracking down on old-fashioned wood and coal-powered heating as it looks to improve New Zealand’s overall air quality.

Although New Zealand’s air quality is already fairly high, Associate Environment Minister Nanaia Mahuta said there were still areas of the country where there were issues, particularly during winter.

To tackle the issue, the Government is looking at getting rid of all solid-fuel fires – such as older style wood and coal-fueled fireplaces.

Sounds like a big move – but it would allow them to continue to be used. It would just require eventual replacement with cleaner burning fireplaces, and most (90%) that are now for sale are compliant anyway, and many local bodies already require compliance.

The announcement from the Beehive: Proposed new measures to improve Aotearoa’s air quality

Improved air quality to support better health and environmental wellbeing is the focus of proposed amendments to air quality regulations, says the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

“Under the proposed amendments, households already using solid-fuel burner appliances for heating can keep using their existing burners until they reach the end of their life. If they choose to replace their burner, under the proposed regulations they may need to replace the appliance with a lower-emission burner. Households on large properties (over two hectares) will remain excluded from these requirements,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

“We are not proposing the removal of existing burners because we need to balance air quality improvements with the ability of households to maintain warm and dry homes.

“At present over 90 per cent of the burners currently on the market would meet the proposed standard and large retail chains already include compliant models in their lowest price bracket. A list of authorised wood burners can be found at: 

There is a large number (looks like hundreds) of compliant burners.

Christchurch City Council (who have had strict requirements for yonks) are already getting tougher: Solid or liquid fuel burner

  • From 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner.

Otago Regional Council: Clean Heat Clean Air – Subsidy Information

Inefficient burners (coal burners, pellet fires and wood burners) are burners that cannot be lawfully installed or used under ORC’s Regional Air Plan rules.

In towns that have had air quality problems they even subsidise new heating at up to $2500.

If you are a homeowner in Arrowtown, Cromwell, Clyde, Alexandra or Milton, you may be eligible for financial assistance to switch to a more efficient, clean heat source for your home under ORC’s Clean Heat Clean Air programme.

The Clean Heat Clean Air programme helps qualifying homeowners replace their old, inefficient burner with a new, ultra-low emission wood burner or other clean heating appliance such as a heat pump, gas fires or pellet fires.

Modern efficient burners produce more heat and require less fuel so are cheaper to run, and are a no-brainer if replacing a burner.

So little will really change, apart from when old inefficient burners are replaced they will have to be replaced with new ones that comply with standards that many councils already enforce.

Leave a comment


  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  26th February 2020

    ‘They even subsidise’ means that the other taxpayers/ratepayers subsidise it, I imagine.

  2. Corky

     /  26th February 2020

    Anyone know if this invention is in use, or for sale?


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