Whakatane fluoride decision fuels Govt re-think

The Whakatane District Council’s Policy Committee has voted narrowly in favour removing fluoride from the District’s public water supplies.

WaterNZ.WebFollowing last week’s decision, representatives of local and central government have weighed in on the issue of who should have the final say over community water fluoridation.

The Royal Society of New Zealand and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor published a review of the available evidence in 2014, concluding:

“There is compelling evidence that fluoridation of water at the established and recommended levels produces broad benefits for the dental health of New  Zealanders.”

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said that if fluoridation does have significant oral health benefits, without creating other health risks, its use should be a central Government decision.

“I don’t think local councils should be making decisions like this and taking on the responsibility for any negative outcomes that may arise in the future,” he said.

Speaking to RNZ, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said he was disappointed more councils didn’t fluoridate, and he had significant concerns about the way things were working at the moment.

“The current system doesn’t deliver the sort of level of spread that would be desirable,” he said. “The issue then is what are the alternatives, should there be a change to the current situation – these are all matters the government is currently considering.”

The councils decision has spurred national media coverage, including:

RNZ: Government considers fluoridation law change
NewstalkZB: Govt looking at legislative changes around fluoridation
MSN NZ: Whakatane Council votes to scrap fluoridation
RNZ: Whakatane mayor stands by fluoride decision
Rotorua Daily Post: Council votes to stop fluoridation
Newshub: No more fluoride in Whakatane water