Anti-fluoride group to appeal court decision

Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014

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Anti-fluoride campaigners have appealed a High Court decision that gave councils the green light to keep using the chemical.

Yesterday, New Health New Zealand Inc filed its challenge with the Court of Appeal.

In what was seen as a landmark case, the group had called on the High Court to quash the South Taranaki District Council's decision to fluoridate water supplies in Patea and Waverley through a judicial review.

Last month, Justice Rodney Hansen rejected their application on all grounds.

Health authorities welcomed the ruling, but New Health NZ director David Sloan said the High Court was wrong to ignore fundamental human rights, and its ruling must not be the final word on the issue.

"The judgment, as it stands, has very worrying implications for all New Zealanders," he said. "Our decision to pursue this case reflects the importance of ensuring we all have the basic human right of choosing what goes into our bodies."

Mr Sloan said the ruling had effectively enabled councils to use the water supply to deliver chemicals for therapeutic purposes.

"Chemicals for the purpose of birth control, mood disorder and vaccination can be legally added to the water supply at the whim of local authorities.

"Based on the High Court ruling, if a person is prescribed 1mg of fluoride by a medical professional, they are receiving medical treatment.

"If they consume the same amount through the reticulated water system, they are not receiving medical treatment, just treated water.

"That distinction is ridiculous," he said.

South Taranaki mayor Ross Dunlop said he was "disappointed and somewhat surprised" by the decision to appeal the ruling.

"Particularly given the thorough ruling by Justice Hansen, which rejected New Health NZ's challenge on all counts," he said.

"New Health NZ's challenge has already consumed a lot of ratepayer dollars and unfortunately it appears that will now continue.

"The council will of course be seeking to recover whatever costs that it can."

So far, the council's legal bill stands at about $220,000 and it estimates the appeal could cost an additional $20,000 to $35,000.

The Taranaki District Health Board has already contributed $120,000 towards expenses and the council is in discussions with Local Government New Zealand about assisting with the balance.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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