Hamilton City Councillor Siggi Henry accuses health officials of fluoride spin, brainwashing
Health experts and "smarty pants" scientists have brainwashed the public over fluoride, says a newly elected city councillor who claims she knows better.
Siggi Henry has urged Waikato District Health Board members and fellow councillors to take up the anti-fluoride cause.
The move comes only weeks after she was elected in a campaign in which she downplayed her strident anti-fluoride views.
She's also taking aim at health professionals and scientists, saying she's more informed on the issue than they are.
Legislation was introduced to Parliament in November to enable DHBs to decide whether community water supplies are fluoridated.
Currently that decision rests with local government.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the move to put the decision into the hands of DHBs reflects the fact water fluoridation is a health issue.
But Henry has accused the Health Ministry and Waikato DHB of peddling lies and said health officials refuse to address the real cause of tooth decay.
In an email sent to Hamilton Mayor Andrew King and fellow councillors, Henry said Ministry data supporting the fluoridation of water couldn't be trusted.
"Sadly I have seen this kind of BS for far too many years," Henry said.
"Tooth decay is not a result of lack of fluoride but a result of too much sugar. And the DHBs, Dave [Macpherson and] Martin [Gallagher] should start addressing that issue."
The council recommended fluoridating Hamilton's water in early 2014, following a referendum in which 66.09 per cent of voters supported a return to fluoridation.
The council has since agreed to provide fluoride-free water at two sites in the city - Taitua Arboretum and Claudelands Park.
Henry said the 2013 referendum outcome was the result of public brainwashing by the DHB.
She also slammed Waikato University scientists who spoke out against anti-fluoride campaigners' alleged abuse of science.
"Because they [scientists] think they are so smarty-pants, they think they can say whatever they like and we should just take it.
"The more educated you are in a field, the narrower your thinking becomes. I'm not hot on these academics...sitting on comfy chairs up on their hill. I've studied this subject for over 20 years, I know a little bit more than they do."
Gallagher said his role as a DHB member was to uphold the considered advice of health professionals and to ensure any public consultation on fluoridation was carried out in a robust manner.
Gallagher said his own personal views on fluoride were irrelevant but believed the issue had been settled in Hamilton.
"Hamilton is done and dusted in my view because the results of the referendum were very clear," he said.
"However, I respect it will be an issue around the region once the authority to fluoridate water, or not, passes on to DHBs. If the DHB were to look at introducing fluoride into areas that do not have it, my personal view is there should be appropriate and respectful consultation around that."
In 2015, Thames residents voted to keep fluoride in the town's water supply.
During this year's local body elections, Henry was questioned at a public forum about her views on water fluoridation.
She replied she wasn't excited by the council's decision to reintroduce fluoride but added "hey, that's what happens".
Councillor Rob Pascoe wasn't surprised Henry had voiced her opposition to fluoridation once on council but believed the issue shouldn't get back onto the council's work agenda.
Henry's passion for the issue should be admired, Pascoe said, but those opposed to fluoridation were a "very small, vocal minority".
"Siggi is now in a position where she can be more vocal than she could as a candidate and we're all entitled to have an opinion about different things. Whether we've got majority support for it is another thing."
Henry said she wouldn't force water fluoridation back onto the council's agenda but would support others who picked up the issue.
She would continue to avoid drinking the city's water.
"The water at Claudelands is still crappy. Just because it doesn't have hydrofluorosilicic acid in it, it's not good water," Henry said.
"And how many people will use these taps? I'd rather just pay for the five people, that want fluoride tablets, to have them."