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Task force to counter fluoridation discontent

Ministry creates task force to counter fluoridation discontent

The Ministry of Health has decided to create a special taxpayer-funded task force to push for fluoridation in the wake of rising public opposition. The Ministry cited its recent loss in the Far North to local activists, and effective loss in Kapiti, as the reason for creating the task force.

Both campaigns involved health activist group Fluoride Action Network NZ (FANNZ). "The tender document shows the Ministry is really scared of our effectiveness as an organisation. We have become the national face and voice of rising public opposition to fluoridation. More and more people are understanding the fact that fluoride in any form is a serious health risk, and doesn't help teeth by swallowing it.” Says spokesperson Mary Byrne.

"Creating this task force shows just how obsessive and out of touch with the public, and current science, the Ministry really is. It is an arrogant affront to the New Zealand public" she adds.

Fluoridation is becoming increasing unpopular, if the recent household surveys in the Far North and Waipukurau are anything to go by.  In both places the majority of respondents said they did not want fluoridation. In Waipukurau, this comes after 30 years of it. New Plymouth Council is to hold a special consultation next year on whether the public wants to continue with fluoridation or not. A referendum in Hastings was favoured by seven of the 15 councillors.

"Creating this task force is an absolutely disgraceful response to all the recent literature relating to the harmful effects of fluoridation, and the consequential opposition to it by ordinary New Zealanders. The Ministry should be funding an objective review of its policy. But instead it wants to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars monitoring the activities of people who are working to stop fluoridation for the benefit of all New Zealanders” says Ms Byrne.

The task force is to monitor FANNZ' website and 'public discussion and decision-making processes on water fluoridation in New Zealand'. "Then it must ‘build arguments' in support of fluoridation, in a seemingly tobacco industry-style public relations campaign - using public money to hoodwink the public over this  scientifically discredited 1950s policy! " points out Ms Byrne.

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