Time to move on fluoride, says DHB

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014

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Waikato District Health Board used Facebook to tell Hamilton City Council it had no excuses for withholding fluoride from the city's water supply.

"Surely now there can be no excuses," the board's post said in reaction to a landmark High Court decision which favoured fluoride.

The reserved decision of Judge Rodney Harrison, released yesterday, rejected all grounds on which Christchurch-based lobby group New Health New Zealand argued against South Taranaki District Council's moves to add fluoride to water in Waverley and Patea.

Hamilton City Council had been holding off reintroducing fluoride until the outcome of the South Taranaki case.

"Put fluoride back into the water Hamilton City Council please?", the health board post said.

Health board spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill told the Times: "The people have spoken. The legal system has spoken. For the good of our children's oral health, just put it back in and put it back in now."

But, in spite of the High Court decision and a public referendum firmly in favour of fluoridation in October, Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker says her council still has to vote on it first.

"We'll be reviewing all the information to enable us to decide what the next steps for Hamilton will be."

Fluoridation will now be added as a late item to the agenda of the next HCC meeting on March 27.

The HCC opted in November to take a wait-and-see approach until the STDC case was concluded.

New Health had argued adding fluoride to water breached section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, which gives people the right to refuse to undergo medical treatment.

However Judge Harrison dismissed all the claims, ruling there is "implied power" to fluoridate in the Local Government Act 2002.

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- Waikato Times

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