After breathing a brief sigh of relief, DHBs and the Ministry of Health must be deeply troubled that after 50 years of general propaganda, four months of a national level Big Brother style propaganda campaign from prominent figures like the Chief Science Advisor, and four weeks of propaganda blitzkriegs from the DHBs, around 30% of voters in Hamilton, Hastings, and 40% of voters in Whakatane still rejected fluoridation.
The pro-fluoridation lobby of New Zealand has thrown everything they could at pushing people to vote to for fluoridation because they claim some people do not brush their teeth. Yet more people voted to end fluoridation in these areas than voted for the Labour party in the last election. PR measures employed by the pro-fluoridation lobby included every email sent from the Waikato DHB having a pro-fluoride message, the voice message on the DHB and hospital phones carrying a pro-fluoride message and even a three and a half minute pro-fluoridation video playing continuously on the hospital waiting rooms TVs. This was not an information campaign, it was a brainwashing campaign.
Despite all this, these public servants failed to tell the public that even they agree that the only benefit from fluoride is when it is in contact with the surface of the tooth. Yet it is their duty to tell them. How much would this change people’s perspective if they knew this one simple fact?
“It is despicable that so much tax payer money has been spent on promoting fluoridation when this money could have been spent on real public health initiatives such as breast feeding or quit smoking campaigns” says Mary Byrne, National Coordinator of Fluoride Action Network New Zealand . ”And the issue is not over. This issue will never be over until people stop trying force fluoride chemicals onto others”. Fluoridation is not an issue in a any of the unfluoridated areas of New Zealand , nor the vast majority of the world, including 97% of Western Europe .
If the fluoride-free campaigns had had access to the same level of resourcing as the pro-fluoridation lobby, the results of these referenda would have been reversed. Now councillors in Hamilton are in a predicament because they have a majority of voters, though still a minority of the population, asking them to do something they know, from being privy to far more information than the average voter, is harmful to the residents they have been voted in to protect.
The fact is that the truth that fluoridation is ineffective and a serious public health risk cannot be suppressed forever. It is time that public servants stop misleading the public and misusing public money. The two councils that have held Tribunal hearings know there are real health risks from fluoride chemicals and their contaminants. It is pleasing to see that Andrew Judd who voted to stop fluoridation in New Plymouth has now become mayor, and Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker and Central Hawke ’s Bay mayor Peter Butler, who both voted to stop fluoridation have been re-elected.