Fund­ing to flu­o­ri­date wa­ter

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - STACEY KIRK

‘‘In­creas­ing ac­cess to flu­o­ri­dated wa­ter will im­prove oral health’’

The Govern­ment has set aside $12m in fund­ing, to help with the costs of flu­o­ri­da­tion, fol­low­ing new leg­is­la­tion that places the power to put flu­o­ride in town wa­ter sup­plies in the hands of Dis­trict Health Boards.

Al­lo­cated for in the May Bud­get, the money pro­vided four years of fund­ing for the in­fra­struc­ture needed to flu­o­ri­date more drink­ing wa­ter, Health Min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man and As­so­ciate Health Min­is­ter Peter Dunne an­nounced.

‘‘While New Zealand’s oral health has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally over the last 30 years, we still have high rates of pre­ventable tooth de­cay,’’ said Cole­man.

‘‘Pub­lic drink­ing wa­ter cur­rently sup­plies about 85 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion. Of those on pub­lic wa­ter sup­plies, 54 per cent re­ceive flu­o­ri­dated wa­ter.

‘‘In­creas­ing ac­cess to flu­o­ri­dated wa­ter will im­prove oral health and mean fewer costly trips to the den­tist. We know that chil­dren have up to 40 per cent less tooth de­cay in flu­o­ri­dated ar­eas com­pared to ar­eas with­out flu­o­ride.’’

The law change was ex­pected to ben­e­fit more than 1.4 mil­lion New Zealan­ders who lived in ar­eas where net­worked com­mu­nity wa­ter sup­plies were not al­ready flu­o­ri­dated.

While DHBs would be able to di­rect a coun­cil to flu­o­ri­date, the cost would still be borne by the lo­cal au­thor­ity. The leg­is­la­tion was be­fore the house, await­ing its fi­nal two read­ings.

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