Cr Barnes chal­lenges flu­o­ride

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - MIKE BAIN

Two Waipa district coun­cil­lors are call­ing out their col­leagues to de­clare where they stand on the pos­si­bil­ity of flu­o­ride be­ing added to the district’s drink­ing wa­ter.

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest said Waipa’s wa­ter re­mained flu­o­ride free and there was no pro­posal to in­tro­duce the chem­i­cal.

But new leg­is­la­tion be­fore Par­lia­ment could soon put the de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce flu­o­ride into the hands of the Waikato District Health Board.

The aim of the bill is to im­prove the sta­tus of oral health in New Zealand by ex­tend­ing flu­o­ri­da­tion cov­er­age.

The leg­is­la­tion has no av­enue for a coun­cil, on be­half of its ratepay­ers, to ob­ject to the manda­tory in­put of flu­o­ride.

While Mylchreest de­fended his coun­cil’s de­ci­sion not to con­sult the com­mu­nity, two coun­cil­lors Hazel Barnes and Vern Wilson wanted coun­cil­lors and the pub­lic to be in­formed of the ben­e­fits of flu­o­ride or oth­er­wise.

Barnes in­for­mally raised the ques­tion at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing.

The for­mer health nurse re­mained neu­tral on the is­sue but would like to see her col­leagues in­formed and then pub­licly ex­press their views on the mat­ter.

‘‘I was around when the drug Thalido­mide was deemed safe and look at how that turned out.

‘‘Now they are telling us flu­o­ride is safe, it’s not even a drug, it’s a chem­i­cal added to our wa­ter and why it’s land­ing in the do­main of the DHB any­way.’’ Vern Wilson agreed. ‘‘Coun­cil­lors are elected to rep­re­sent Waipa res­i­dents and should make their views pub­lic on all con­tentious is­sues.’’

Mylchreest said it was a per­sonal is­sue for each coun­cil­lor.

‘‘I would have thought the pub­lic in­ter­est would bet­ter be served ask­ing those who are likely to make any de­ci­sion. That will not be Waipa coun­cil­lors and is more likely to be mem­bers of the Waikato District Health Board.’’

With leg­is­la­tion yet to be passed the Waikato District Health Board said it was un­able to com­ment on the process or time­frames.

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