Fluoride and trade deals soak up hearing

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 22/05/2014

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

Long-time campaigner Pat McNair was the first speaker to bend the collective ear of the council, questioning how councillors could sleep at night following their decision to reintroduce fluoride 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 that 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.

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

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 the 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 in Hamilton yesterday 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 spokeswoman 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 that, 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 that 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 the council had made the decision to listen to residents' concerns.

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- Waikato Times

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