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Council that doesn’t learn– 50 years of disrespect continued

The Council that doesn’t learn – 50 years of disrespect continues

Wellington NZ, 4 November 2011 - On Wednesday 2 November the Hutt City Council voted 8 to 5 to continue to force medication on its population without consultation – an attitude for which it became famous almost 50 years ago.

In 1963 Mayor Percy Dowse made it his “personal crusade” to force fluoridation (which is medication under the Medicines Act 1981) on Lower Hutt, refusing to consult with the Ratepayers Association. He was spurred on by Councillor (later Mayor) and dentist John Kennedy-Good. This led to the famous Privy Council case.

While Councillors Max Shierlaw, Roger Styles, Gwen McDonald, Margaret Willard and Lisa Bridson sought a referendum on this increasingly rejected practice, the majority decided the people would have no voice - again.

“Almost fifty years on, and Councillors still haven’t learned to respect those who elect them. Cr Laban says a referendum would not be able to represent the will of the people since only 38% of people voted last election. However, using this logic, the councillors are not able to represent the will of the people either.” says Mary Byrne, spokesperson for Fluoride Network NZ.

The public space was overflowing with the people opposed to fluoridation. There was only one supporter of the practice apart from those paid to be there. “Petone residents are the only people in the city that have ever been asked their opinion on fluoridation. In 1999, in a one in 3 household survey, over 70% of residents said “No”. Instead of simply adding the fluoridation question to a referendum already being held next year, councillors took it on themselves to prescribe medication to the approximately 100,000 residents living outside of Petone”, says Mary Byrne.

The councillors’ excuse that they are looking after the poor was roundly discredited by submissions at Wednesday’s meeting – in fact the poor will be the worst affected. Lower Hutt is only one of 24 councils, out of a total of 69, that continues fluoridation. In the past two years three councils have stopped. Hastings, where fluoridation actually began in NZ, is holding a referendum at the 2013 elections. Hamilton and Central Hawke’s Bay District councils are putting a Review on their long term plan, in 2012.

Councillor Styles noted that it was “ironic that fluoridation began as a means of industry avoiding law suits, yet it will be fear of law suits that will end fluoridation”, probably in about 20 years. “Councillor Styles won’t have to wait that long”, assures Mark Atkin, founder of Fluoridegate Legal Action NZ, which is already calling for class action litigants, in parallel with cases already filed or being developed in the USA and Australia.

About Fluoride Action Network
Fluoride Action Network (NZ) Inc. (FANNZ) is the leading expert body on fluoridation science in New Zealand, and a founding member of the Fluoridation-free NZ Coalition, an alliance of national health-focused organisations launched in 2009 to take national action to end water fluoridation. For more information, visit www.fannz.org.nz.

About Fluoridegate Legal Action NZ
Fluoridegate Legal Action NZ was formed by Mark Atkin LLB(Hons) in October 2011. It was inspired by Fluoridegate Legal Action, USA, founded by attorney James Robert Deal.

Its purpose is to bring to justice all those responsible for harm caused by water fluoridation – a harm known about by promoters for many years, but publicly denied.


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