The Government has announced a review of air quality standards.
It will look at the costs and benefits of the current standards, including the economic, health and social costs.
The review will also consider what difference the standards have made.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says the review needs to look at whether it is fair to punish only industry for non-compliance, when home fires and vehicles are the overwhelming cause of pollution.
Dr Smith says good progress is being made reducing air pollution around the country, but 10 cities and towns, including Auckland and Christchurch, are unlikely to meet the current standards by 2013.
The five-person advisory group overseeing the review is headed by Phil Barry, a director of a company that provides economic and financial advice to businesses.