New flouridation proposal not swallowed by all
A hands-off approach to the control of water fluoridation has not been swallowed convincingly by all South Waikato District councillors.
The council pledged its support for a Local Government New Zealand[ LGNZ] fluoridation proposal that would see the ability to control the flouridation of town water supplies handed over to the director of general health.
But it was not a unanimous decision.
Putaruru councillor Adrienne Bell told the South Waikato News she was against fluoride and the proposal.
‘‘I sort of go with what the people want but personally I’m against it. People can have toothpaste and fluoride tablets,’’ she said.
And the decision to take away council’s power over the matter did not bode well with her either.
‘‘ I prefer to have referendums.. it’s something that gives people a choice,’’ she said.
Mayor Neil Sinclair based his favourable opinion on his 40-year stint as a dentist.
‘‘It’s been in the water for 40 years, it improves health and wellbeing,’’ he said.
Sinclair said the health benefits would help reduce costs.
‘‘As an old dentist I think it is a good dental measure I have a personal obligation to care for the children whose parents can’t provide that,’’ he said.
Sinclair seemed to think his whole council felt the same way despite Bell’s disapproval.
Councillor Jeff Gash was in support of fluoride in the water yet there was no way to tell what he thought of the proposal.
‘‘I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion,’’ he said.
National coordinator of antifluoride group Fluoride Free NZ Mary Byrne said the group was ‘‘ disappointed’’ with the decision. .
‘‘LGNZ members should not be abdicating their responsibility to protect their residents from harm to anyone, even central Government,’’ she said.
Byrne was also quick to poke holes in the proposal.
She said the decision would result in people being ‘‘forced to have it’’ and there would be no monitoring.
LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said although he was not convinced it would be taken on board he believed the decision should lie with the Ministry of Health.
‘‘I think we have a mandate to take it up with them,’’ he said.
As the mayor of Hastings, Yule said local authorities do not have the ‘‘expertise’’ to make the decision.
‘‘I remember listening to both sides of the argument and I was left confused somewhat,’’ he said.
Yule made an example of South Taranaki district council and Hamilton City Council. He said the decision cost both councils ‘‘a whole lot of money’’.
‘‘ Taranaki got hit with a $200,000 bill and I don’t even know what Hamilton’s number is,’’ he said.
The next step is to lobby the Government to change legislation.