Health Act 1956

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Health

Version as at 1 July 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Health Act 1956

Public Act
1956 No 65
Date of assent
25 October 1956
see section 1(2)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Health.


1Short Title and commencement
2ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
3Power of Governor-General in Council to amend Schedules
3AFunction of Ministry in relation to public health
3BDirector of Public Health
3CDirector-General to produce annual report on current state of public health
3DDirector of Public Health may provide advice or reports to Minister
3EPublic Health Agency
3FPublic Health Agency to consult
4Department of Health [Repealed]
5Director-General of Health [Repealed]
5ADeputy Directors-General and Assistant Directors-General of Health [Repealed]
5BDelegation of powers by Director-General [Repealed]
6Other officers and employees [Repealed]
6APart-time deputy medical officers of health [Repealed]
7Principal functions of Department [Repealed]
7AMedical officers of health and other officers
8Conservation of public health in areas outside jurisdiction of local authorities
9Delegation of powers by Minister [Repealed]
9AAdvisory committees and subcommittees [Repealed]
10Annual report [Repealed]
11Board of Health [Repealed]
11AChairman and deputy chairman [Repealed]
12Remuneration and travelling allowances [Repealed]
13Meetings and procedure of Board [Repealed]
14Seal of Board [Repealed]
15Secretary to Board [Repealed]
16Functions of Board [Repealed]
17Board may be appointed as a commission of inquiry [Repealed]
18Committees of Board [Repealed]
18AAd hoc subcommittees [Repealed]
19Health districts
20Medical officer of health for every health district [Repealed]
21Evidence of authority of medical officer or health protection officer
22Certain officers to have functions of medical officers of health
22APowers of departmental officers under Factories and Commercial Premises Act 1981 [Repealed]
22CDisclosure of health information
22DDuty to provide health information
22EDuty to provide information for purposes of blood collection
22FCommunication of information for diagnostic and other purposes
22GInspection of records
22HAnonymous health information
22IOffence to fail to retain health information [Repealed]
22JExpiry of section 22I
23General powers and duties of local authorities in respect of public health
24Governor-General may exempt certain local authorities [Repealed]
25Local authority to provide sanitary works
26Appeal against requisition or determination of Board of Health [Repealed]
27Local authority may raise loans for sanitary works
27AGrants and subsidies for refuse disposal works, sewerage works, and water supplies
28Appointment of environmental health officers by local authorities
29Nuisances defined for purposes of this Act
30Penalties for permitting or causing nuisances
31Provisions of this Act as to nuisances to be in addition to other rights
32Provisions of this Act as to nuisances to apply to Crown
33Proceedings in respect of nuisances
34Power to abate nuisance without notice
35Proceedings when nuisance caused by default outside district
36Local authorities to make provision for removal of refuse, etc [Repealed]
37Further provisions as to removal of refuse, etc [Repealed]
38Right of local authority to use portion of reserve for depot [Repealed]
39Requirements of dwellinghouses as to supply of water and sanitary conveniences
40Sanitary requirements for business premises [Repealed]
41Owners or occupiers may be required to cleanse premises
42Local authority may require repairs and issue closing order
43Appeal against closing order
44Issue of closing order by medical officer of health
45Determination of closing order
46Closing order for premises owned by local authority
47Failure to comply with closing order
48Local authority may require demolition [Repealed]
49District Court may make demolition order [Repealed]
50Issue of requisition by medical officer of health [Repealed]
51Enforcement of demolition order [Repealed]
52Offences in respect of requisition or demolition order [Repealed]
53Restriction on use of materials for building [Repealed]
53AMortgagee may do acts required of owner
53BProvisions where owner is a trustee
53CAdvances by local authority to owners
54Restrictions on carrying on offensive trade
55Appeal against decision refusing consent for offensive trade or refusing registration of premises for offensive trade
56Local authority to notify medical officer of health of registered chemical works [Repealed]
57Local authority may restrict keeping of animals [Repealed]
58Restrictions on establishment of stock saleyards
59Appeal against decision refusing consent for stock saleyard or refusing registration of premises for stock saleyard
60Pollution of water supply [Repealed]
61Control of watercourses, etc [Repealed]
62Supply of water from polluted source [Repealed]
63Powers of Director-General as to polluted water supply [Repealed]
65General provisions as to bylaws
65AEffect of Building Act 2004 on bylaws
66Penalties for breach of bylaws
67Mode of making bylaws
68Copies of bylaws to be available
69Duties and powers of harbour boards [Repealed]
69APurpose [Repealed]
69BThis Part generally to apply on commencement [Repealed]
69CApplication of sections 69S to 69ZC generally [Repealed]
69DApplication of sections 69S to 69ZC to bulk suppliers [Repealed]
69EApplication of sections 69S to 69ZC to water carriers [Repealed]
69FBulk suppliers, networked suppliers, and water carriers may elect earlier compliance [Repealed]
69GInterpretation [Repealed]
69HAll practicable steps [Repealed]
69IPart binds the Crown [Repealed]
69JDrinking-water register [Repealed]
69KApplications for registration [Repealed]
69LRenewal of registration by water carriers [Repealed]
69MDuty to update details on register [Repealed]
69NRemoval from register [Repealed]
69OMinister may issue, adopt, amend, or revoke drinking-water standards [Repealed]
69PMinister must consult before issuing, adopting, or amending drinking-water standards [Repealed]
69QDrinking-water standards must be notified and made available [Repealed]
69RCommencement of drinking-water standards [Repealed]
69SDuty of suppliers in relation to provision of drinking water [Repealed]
69TDuties where risk to water is actual or foreseeable [Repealed]
69UDuty to take reasonable steps to contribute to protection of source of drinking water [Repealed]
69VDuty to comply with drinking-water standards [Repealed]
69WDuty to take reasonable steps to supply wholesome drinking water [Repealed]
69XDuties in relation to new water sources [Repealed]
69YDuty to monitor drinking water [Repealed]
69ZDuty to prepare and implement water safety plan [Repealed]
69ZAMedical officer of health may require preparation and implementation of water safety plan [Repealed]
69ZBDuration of plans [Repealed]
69ZCReview and renewal of plans [Repealed]
69ZDDuty to keep records and make them available [Repealed]
69ZEDuty to investigate complaints [Repealed]
69ZFDuty to take remedial action if drinking-water standards breached [Repealed]
69ZGDuty to provide reasonable assistance to drinking-water assessors, designated officers, and medical officers of health [Repealed]
69ZHDuty to provide information to territorial authority [Repealed]
69ZITemporary supplier to notify medical officer of health of source and quality of raw water [Repealed]
69ZJPowers of medical officer of health relating to temporary drinking-water suppliers [Repealed]
69ZKDirector-General may appoint drinking-water assessors [Repealed]
69ZLFunctions of drinking-water assessors [Repealed]
69ZMDrinking-water assessors accountable to Director-General for performance of functions [Repealed]
69ZNFunctions of designated officers [Repealed]
69ZOPowers of designated officers [Repealed]
69ZPPowers of drinking-water assessors and designated officers [Repealed]
69ZQAncillary powers [Repealed]
69ZRRestrictions on exercise of powers [Repealed]
69ZSRequirement for warrant to enter dwellinghouse [Repealed]
69ZTStandard conditions applying where warrant executed [Repealed]
69ZUDrinking-water assessors and designated officers must produce identification [Repealed]
69ZVInventory of things seized to be provided [Repealed]
69ZWReview of decisions of drinking-water assessors [Repealed]
69ZXRegister of drinking-water assessors [Repealed]
69ZYDirector-General may recognise laboratories [Repealed]
69ZZCompliance tests must be carried out by recognised laboratory [Repealed]
69ZZAMinister may declare drinking-water emergency [Repealed]
69ZZBMaximum duration of drinking-water emergency declaration [Repealed]
69ZZCDrinking-water emergency may be declared or continued even if other emergency declared [Repealed]
69ZZDSpecial powers of designated officers during drinking-water emergency [Repealed]
69ZZECompensation for property requisitioned or destroyed [Repealed]
69ZZFActions taken under emergency powers may be exempted from requirements of Part 3 of Resource Management Act 1991 [Repealed]
69ZZGEffect of exemption [Repealed]
69ZZHMedical officer of health may issue compliance order [Repealed]
69ZZICompliance with compliance order [Repealed]
69ZZJForm and content of compliance order [Repealed]
69ZZKAppeals [Repealed]
69ZZLStay of compliance order pending appeal [Repealed]
69ZZMVariation and cancellation of compliance order [Repealed]
69ZZNAppeals against decision on change or cancellation of compliance order [Repealed]
69ZZOContamination of raw water or pollution of water supply [Repealed]
69ZZPLocal authority may be required to warn users of self-supplied building water supplies about contamination [Repealed]
69ZZQOffence to supply or transport water if not registered [Repealed]
69ZZROffences against sections in this Part [Repealed]
69ZZSStrict liability and defence to offences [Repealed]
69ZZTOffences involving deception [Repealed]
69ZZUTime for filing charging document [Repealed]
69ZZVPenalties [Repealed]
69ZZWAdditional penalty for certain offences for commercial gain [Repealed]
69ZZXLiability of principal for acts of agents [Repealed]
69ZZYRegulations [Repealed]
69ZZZProtecting water supplies from risk of back-flow [Repealed]
69ZZZAKeeping, inspection, and copying of registers [Repealed]
69ZZZBDirector-General must publish annual report [Repealed]
69ZZZCStatements by Director-General [Repealed]
69ZZZDProtection of persons performing or exercising functions, duties, or powers under this Part [Repealed]
69ZZZERelationship between this Part and other enactments [Repealed]
70Special powers of medical officer of health
71Powers of medical officer of health on outbreak of infectious disease
71APower of constables to assist medical officer of health in relation to infectious diseases
72Offences relating to obstructing medical officer of health or people assisting medical officer of health
73Medical officer of health may cause sanitary works to be undertaken
74Health practitioners to give notice of cases of notifiable disease
74AAMedical laboratories to give notice of cases of notifiable disease
74ANational Cervical Screening Register [Repealed]
74BMedical laboratories may be required to give notice of cases of disease during epidemic
74CPriorities for medicines
74DRedirection of aircraft
75Duty of occupier of premises as to infectious disease
76Duty of master of vessel in harbour as to infectious disease
77Medical officer of health may enter premises
78Director-General of Health may order post-mortem examination
79Isolation of persons likely to spread infectious disease [Repealed]
80Offences in respect of infectious or communicable diseases
81Power of local authority to disinfect premises
82Medical officer of health may order premises to be disinfected
83Infected articles may be destroyed
84Establishment of mortuaries and disinfecting stations
85Notice of death from infectious disease
86Duties of local authorities as to burials
87Compensation for persons injuriously affected
87ACommunicable diseases occurring in animals
88Persons suffering from venereal disease to undergo treatment [Repealed]
89Duty of medical practitioner as to patient suffering from venereal disease [Repealed]
90Treatment of children [Repealed]
91Persons other than medical practitioners treating venereal disease [Repealed]
92Infecting any person with venereal disease [Repealed]
92APrinciples to be taken into account
92BParamount consideration
92CRespect for individuals
92DVoluntary compliance
92EIndividual to be informed
92FPrinciple of proportionality
92GLeast restrictive alternative
92HMeasures to apply no longer than necessary
92IMedical officer of health may give directions to individual posing public health risk
92JMedical officer of health may give directions to contacts of individuals posing public health risk
92KDirection for medical examination
92LDirection to close educational institutions
92MDirector-General may require copies of directions given under this Part
92NWritten directions and notices to be served on individual
92ODuration of directions
92PMedical officer of health must review directions
92QDirections may be extended
92RRepeated directions may be given
92SDirections may be varied or rescinded
92TAppeal against directions
92VOffence for failing to comply with directions
92WOffence to obstruct compliance with directions
92XDuty of care relating to individuals under 16 years and persons lacking in legal capacity
92YForce not permissible
92ZDistrict Court may make public health order
92ZAPublic health order may impose certain requirements on individual
92ZBMatters that District Court may take into account in assessing public health risk
92ZCDuration of public health order
92ZDPublic health order may be extended
92ZERelationship between directions and public health orders
92ZFMedical officer of health may make urgent public health order
92ZGDuration of urgent public health order
92ZHMedical examination orders
92ZIDistrict Court may make public health order contingent on examinations establishing infectious disease
92ZJOrder for contacts
92ZKProceedings under this Part in District Court to be heard by Family Court Judges, if practicable
92ZLProceedings under this Part not open to public
92ZMDistrict Court may appoint lawyers to act for individuals under 16 years
92ZNApplication for order
92ZOPrior consultation with individual and individual’s family or whānau
92ZPCase conferences
92ZQMedical officer of health must review orders
92ZRDistrict Court may cancel or vary orders
92ZTAppeals to High Court
92ZUAppeals to Court of Appeal
92ZVEnforcement of order by medical officer of health
92ZWOffence not to comply with order
92ZXOffence to obstruct compliance with order
92ZYPurpose of contact tracing
92ZZWhat contact tracing involves
92ZZAWho may be contact tracer
92ZZBAppropriateness of contact tracing
92ZZCDuty of individual with infectious disease to provide information about contacts
92ZZDConsideration as to whether contact tracing can be undertaken by individual
92ZZEWhen contact tracer may undertake contact tracing
92ZZFContact tracer may require certain persons to provide information
92ZZGDuty of confidentiality
92ZZHOffence to fail to comply with direction to provide required information about contacts
93Port health officers [Repealed]
94Places of inspection for ships
95Infected places
96Ships and aircraft liable to quarantine
97People liable to quarantine
97APeople liable to quarantine to comply with directions and supply information
97BDetention of craft and people
97CLifting of detention of craft
97DPowers and duties of medical officer of health or health protection officer in relation to quarantinable diseases
97ESurveillance of certain people liable to quarantine
97FChildren and people under disability
97GOffences against this Part
98Continuance of liability to quarantine
99Restrictions applying while ship liable to quarantine
100Quarantine signal for ships
101Inspection of ship or aircraft liable to quarantine
102Ship’s declaration of health
103Aircraft declaration [Repealed]
104Offences under last 2 preceding sections [Repealed]
105Ship arriving from infected place
106Ship with quarantinable disease on board
107Grant of pratique
108Persons suffering from quarantinable disease
109Infected baggage, cargo, or stores
110Disinfection and fumigation of craft
111Power to board any ship and inspect
112AASections 70 and 71 and this Part operate independently
112CAppointment of persons to operate NCSP
112DObjectives of NCSP
112EEnrolment in NCSP
112FDuties of NCSP manager that relate to enrolled women
112GProcedure to prevent or cancel enrolment in NCSP
112HDuties of NCSP manager when women cancel enrolment in NCSP
112IProcedure to re-enrol in NCSP
112JRestriction on access to, and use, retention, and disclosure of, NCSP information
112JAFurther provisions relating to NCSP information
112KDelegation of functions and powers
112LDuties of persons taking specimens for screening tests
112MDuty of persons performing colposcopic procedure
112NDuty of laboratories where specimens are analysed
112OEstablishment of NCSP review committee
112PWork of review committee
112QReview committee’s access to information
112RReport by review committee
112SDuty of Director-General to report
112TMeaning of evaluate
112UDirector-General may designate screening programme evaluators
112VCriteria for designating employees of Ministry
112WCriteria for designating persons who are not Ministry employees
112XPower of screening programme evaluators to access specimens and health information
112YDuties of screening programme evaluators
112ZDuties of persons to whom evaluation material is supplied by screening programme evaluator
112ZAScreening programme evaluator may publish non-identifiable information obtained during evaluation
112ZBDuty of health practitioners
112ZCDuty of persons who hold specimens
112ZDDuty of hospitals
112ZEScreening programme employees may retain, access, use, and disclose information to perform functions
112ZGIncorporation of standards by reference in regulations
112ZHEffect of amendments to, or replacement of, standards incorporated by reference in regulations
112ZIProof of standards incorporated by reference
112ZJEffect of expiry or revocation of standards incorporated by reference
112ZKRequirement to consult
112ZLAccess to standards incorporated by reference
112ZMApplication of Legislation Act 2019 to standards incorporated by reference
112ZNApplication of Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 to standards incorporated by reference [Repealed]
112ZOApplication of Standards and Accreditation Act 2015 not affected
114Ban on providing artificial UV tanning services to persons under 18 years
115Infringement offences
116Commission of infringement offences
116AInfringement notices
116BPayment of infringement fees
116EDirector-General may direct local authority to add or not to add fluoride to drinking water
116FContents of direction
116GEngagement with local authority
116HLocal authority not required to consult
116ILocal authority must comply with direction
116JOffence to contravene or permit contravention of section 116I
116KStrict liability and defence to offence
116LTime for filing charging document
116MAdditional penalty for certain offences for commercial gain
116NLiability of principal for acts of agents
117Regulations as to public health
118Regulations as to quarantine
119Regulations as to noxious substances and gases and dangerous goods
120Regulations as to registration
120ARegulations as to homes and day-care centres for aged persons
120BRegulations as to camping grounds
120CRegulations as to housing improvement and overcrowding
121Regulations as to qualifications of environmental health officers appointed by local authorities
121ARegulations as to retention of health information
122Special provisions as to regulations
123Powers of Director-General on default by local authority
124Constitution and powers of boards of appeal [Repealed]
125Medical examination of children
126Infirm and neglected persons
126APersons attempting to commit suicide [Repealed]
126BBlood transfusions [Repealed]
127Attendance of medical officer of health at meetings of local authorities
128Power of entry and inspection
128ABuilding Act 2004
129Protection of persons acting under authority of Act
130Expenses of local authorities
131Service of documents
132Procedure in respect of charges on land
133Obstruction of officers
134Failure to disclose name of owner or occupier
135Interference by owner or occupier
136General penalty for offences
137Offences punishable on summary conviction [Repealed]
137AIncorporation of material by reference into regulations and compliance documents
137BEffect of amendments to, or replacement of, material incorporated by reference
137CProof of material incorporated by reference
137DEffect of expiry of material incorporated by reference
137ERequirement to consult
137FAccess to material incorporated by reference
137GApplication of Legislation Act 2019 to material incorporated by reference
137HApplication of Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 to material incorporated by reference [Repealed]
138Other Acts not affected
139Consequential amendments
140Repeals and savings

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to public health