Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Hamilton Has Spoken: We Want Fluoride

Media Release

Date: Saturday 12 October 2013

Hamilton Has Spoken: We Want Fluoride in Our Water

Hamilton has spoken. We want fluoride back in our water.

The Hamilton City Council community water fluoridation referendum results are in and 70 per cent of Hamilton voters - 23,000 voted yes and 10,000 voted no - said they want their water fluoridated.

The result does not include the votes from ratepayers in the south and west of the Waikato District who receive their water from Hamilton City Council. The margin there was similar. The 2500 people had the opportunity to vote in a Waikato District Council-organised survey and the district council shared those results with the city council.

Community water fluoridation has been a hotly contested issue since the city council removed fluoride earlier this year. It was added, at the rate of about one spoonful of fluoride per full bathtub of water, for 47 years with the only health effect being less tooth decay.

Since then, Waikato and national health professionals have weighed in to protect the science of water fluoridation as the most important public health measure New Zealand has seen, providing baseline protection against dental cavities for all who drink and cook their food in fluoridated water.

“The positive result is absolutely what we would have expected being that the decision to remove fluoride was lobbied by an active minority rather than the average ratepayer going about their business,” said Waikato District Health Board chief executive Craig Climo.

“It hasn’t come as a surprise. It was only in 2006 that Hamilton overwhelmingly voted to retain fluoride in the water after it was brought to referendum then as well.”

Hamilton City Council held a tribunal earlier this year, resulting in city councillors voting 7-1 to remove fluoride, although four councillors, who were also on the Waikato DHB board, did not vote.

Mr Climo said it was disappointing that the issue came to tribunal in the first place and that the DHB had to spend so much time and effort on the referendum when there are other major challenges in health. The DHB spent $47,000 on its pro fluoride campaign, $8000 of that on billboards and banners.

Waikato DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Felicity Dumble (pictured adding a teaspoon of fluoride to a bathtub of water) has been involved in the last two community water fluoridation referenda in Hamilton and says the non-binding nature means it’s not yet over.

I’m obviously pleased with the results, but the important thing is that the new council listen to the opinion of their community," she said.

“And ultimately use these results, and those from 2006, as an example as to why it’s not a good idea to use tribunals which grossly over represent the position of small interest groups, when it comes to making public health decisions for the whole city.”

Mr Climo said Waikato DHB would support other communities who have had fluoride removed from the water (such as Taumarunui and Morrinsville) and encouraged every community that doesn’t currently have the privilege of water fluoridation to raise the issue with their local councillors.

There are a number of towns in the Waikato DHB region, including Cambridge and Te Awamutu, who could now expect to receive submissions from public health officials as part of their annual plan processes, he said.

Dr Dumble reiterated the importance of water fluoridation to protect the community’s teeth – particularly for vulnerable groups including low socio-economic families, and said those wanting more information should visit www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz or www.waikatodhb.health.nz/fluoride


About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 373,220 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6450 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB’s main provider of hospital and health services. It has six groups across five hospital sites, three primary birthing units, two continuing care facilities and 20 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

A wide range of independent providers deliver other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Police Authority: Use Of Taser Was Disproportionate And Unjustified

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer’s second use of a Taser on a mentally unwell Hokitika man was disproportionate and unjustified. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Holidays, Hekia Parata And Badlands

Hekia Parata, adieu. Reportedly, she’s been ‘passionate’ about education. She has “bravely’ led the charge on the government’s education reforms. In the past week , many of the postscripts to Hekia Parata’s career as Education Minister have sounded like a schoolteacher desperately trying to find some reason why a D student can be marked up to C minus. More>>


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news