Anti-fluoride talk dominates hearing

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 14:18 21/05/2014
Pat McNair
Mark Taylor/FAIRFAX NZ
Long-time anti-fluoride campaigner Pat McNair was the first speaker at opening session of Hamilton City Council's draft annual plan submissions hearing.

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The views of anti-fluoride activists have dominated the opening session of Hamilton City Council's draft annual plan submissions hearing.

Long-time campaigner Pat McNair was the first speaker to bend the collective ear of council, questioning how councillors could sleep at night following their decision to re-introduce fluoride back into the city's water supply.

Almost a third of the 167 submissions to the council's draft plan relate to fluoride, with the vast majority opposing fluoridation.

McNair said nine of the council's 13 elected members were personally opposed to fluoridation but felt pressured to vote otherwise.

Resident Christine Cave said the fluoride decision showed an inherent weakness with democracy.

"The democratic argument is flawed in this instance. Sometimes democracy is not enough, we need wise leadership," Cave said.

"Democracy is a dangerous game when the community is so uninformed."

Last month, Safe Water Alternative NZ (SWANZ) lodged a statement of claim at the High Court to test the council's decision to recommence the fluoridation of Hamilton's water.

SWANZ also sought an interim order from the High Court directing then council not to reintroduce fluoride until after the judicial review process was resolved.

The interim order hearing was to be heard in the High Court at Hamilton today but was adjourned because there was no judge available.

A new date for the hearing will be set next week.

The interim hearing is now likely to take place in June.

Council spokesperson Natalie Palmer said the council could not comment on when fluoride would be reintroduced  until after the interim hearing had taken place.

Meanwhile, submitters also used the council's submissions hearing to voice concern over the Government's involvement with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Twenty five submitters have submitted on the issue and each asked the council to "take action" against the Government's participation in the trade deal.

Submitter John Telfer said, based on Government "leaks", the trade deal could undermine New Zealanders' democratic freedoms.

In reply, councillor Ewan Wilson asked how Telfer's comments related to the draft annual plan and suggested he would be better to lobby his local MPs.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the TPPA submissions appeared to have no relevance to the draft plan but said council had made the decision to listen to residents' concerns.

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