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Fluoridation Juggernaut Halted In Westland

Media Release
Sunday 5 June 2005.


Annette King’s fluoridation juggernaut hit a brick wall in Hokitika on Thursday when the Westland District Council voted nine to two against fluoridating the district’s water supplies.

Most striking of the responses of councillors was that although they held a variety of personal views the majority of them rejected fluoridation because as one councillor put it, fluoridation seemed to be a matter of “the state versus the people” and that they were representing the clear majority opinion of their constituents who were opposed to it.

During the DHB propaganda campaign leading to the Grey District’s recent five-four decision to implement fluoridation, many concerns were raised about the health authority’s factually incorrect advertising, manipulation of submission forms, and slandering of people opposed to fluoridation, according to the Democrat’s social issues researcher David Tranter. This included the area dental officer Martin Lee’s media description of fluoridation opponents as having the mindset of Al Quaeda and the DHB’s factually incorrect advertising campaign. As a result of this several complaints are being considered including to the Ombudsman, the State Services Commission and the Human Rights Commission regarding health officials’ behaviour Mr. Tranter said. An action group has already been formed in Greymouth to fight their council’s decision.

Even after their routing in Hokitika the DHB are continuing their misleading propaganda campaign with their planning manager Kevin Hague claiming in the media that Westland councillors “had overwhelmingly endorsed fluoridation as safe and effective”. As one of those who sat through the entire hearing I can categorically state they did no such thing, Mr. Tranter said. There was certainly a variety of views expressed by councillors but to interpret this as an overwhelming endorsement again totally misrepresents what actually happened.

The West Coast DHB have massively overstepped the bounds of their proper activities by indulging in a deliberate and calculated campaign of misinformation and deception of the people they are supposed to be serving. When I resigned from the board in 2002 I did so because I was not prepared to be part of their secretive and unethical processes, Mr. Tranter said. Their fluoridation campaign tactics show their behaviour to be just as bad, if not worse, than during the time I was on the board. It is high time Annette King instituted an enquiry into the way they are interpreting their role.

David Tranter

Social issues researcher and Canterbury/Westland health spokesman,

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