New flouri­da­tion pro­posal not swal­lowed by all

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PURONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

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.

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