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

 

Fluoridation: NZ’s go to local government obsession

Fluoridation: New Zealand’s go to local government obsession.

For Immediate Release

20 April 2017

When University of Waikato student Luke Oldfield turned on the news in 2013 to discover Hamilton city council (HCC) was ending community water fluoridation, he was baffled by the decision. The moment not only led Oldfield to examine the global anti-fluoride movement, it also influenced the direction of his studies, moving him to look into why communities continually revisit this fairly innocuous public health measure.

For decades, opposition to community water fluoridation has persisted - despite considerable research showing that the practice is a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay. Oldfield’s soon to be released master’s dissertation helps explain why community water fluoridation decisions are so frequently challenged. The University of Waikato granted Oldfield a scholarship to analyse the 2013 HCC submission data that had ultimately led to the HCC decision. The results of this preliminary research became the focus of his dissertation. Oldfield found that about two-thirds of all submissions to HCC had been prepared by, or collated by, Fluoride Free New Zealand - many of whom did not live in Hamilton.

What really captured Oldfield’s attention though was international events and how they had filtered down to cities like Hamilton. He found that the worldwide umbrella group for anti-fluoride activism, Fluoride Action Network, was soliciting private donations, as well as collecting $25,000 a year from Joseph Mercola, an internet entrepreneur who operates a controversial online store retailing supplements and water filters. Mercola has been reprimanded many times by the US Food & Drug Administration for making unsubstantiated claims regarding his natural health products. Closer to home, celebrity chef Pete Evans, a vocal critic of fluoridation, has marketed water bottles he claims reduce fluoride.

“It’s important to underline that not every person who opposes fluoridation has a financial interest,” Oldfield says. “Shrewd marketers such as Mercola can tap into people's insecurities about the role of government in their lives.” Oldfield contends this may be the result of increasing financial marginalisation of many New Zealanders. “Thirty years of dramatic economic transformation certainly hasn’t done much to wed large sections of society to the idea that the government has their best interests at heart,” he suggests.

Oldfield believes the marginalisation issue looms large for those interested in promoting evidence-based policy in New Zealand. “How do we communicate scientific concepts to people that are already emboldened to think in an entirely different way?” he asks.

In addition to advocating for stronger science communication, Oldfield hopes the government will favour the University of Waikato’s proposal to set up a medical school on their Hamilton campus. “I’m optimistic more GPs on the ground would translate into a community more reassured about important public health interventions such as vaccines and fluoridation,” he says.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 
 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog
More RSS News Alerts