Cr Barnes challenges fluoride
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.