Hamilton City councillors voted seven to six to hold a referendum in conjunction with this year’s local body elections. Fluoride Action Network NZ applaud Mayor Hardaker and councillors Chesterman, O’Leary, Forsyth, Hennebry and Gower for not bowing down to a vociferous and vocal minority who ironically have demanded a referendum under the guise of “freedom of choice” when the referendum is about taking freedom of choice away from their neighbours.
We can now expect to see the “highly organised campaign of disinformation” in conjunction with “out-of-towners”, as described by Health Minister Tony Ryall. The Waikato DHB, the Ministry of Health’s million dollar-funded lobby service, the National Water Fluoridation Support and Co-ordination Service and the NZ Dental Association will no doubt flood the media and streets of Hamilton with the same sort of disinformation and scaremongering that failed to impress councillors during the tribunal process.
The Waikato DHB spent $100,000 in 2006 and will spend any amount now. They have been running scared since the decision to end fluoridation by the New Plymouth District Council in 2011 which followed the Tribunal process as recommended by the Ministry of Health. The Hamilton City council also sort approval from the Chief Science Advisor’s office before embarking on this model.
The Commission of Inquiry into Fluoridation stated in its 1957 report:
“A referendum inevitably means that the will of the majority prevails and occasionally on inadequate information… We are of the opinion that it is an unsatisfactory method of arriving at a decision on [this] matter.”
They cannot win the scientific argument on fluoridation, so now they are making a last ditch effort to undermine the democratic process.
We are pleased that the referendum will be non-binding, as this allows the Council to consider the extent to which an organised and massively funded campaign of disinformation might have influenced the result.
We hope that at least the referendum will provide an opportunity for the evidence-based science against fluoridation presented during the tribunal process to be aired in public against the claims made by the DHB. Any objective member of the public will see where the truth lies if both sides are given equal opportunity to be heard.
But will the DHB or any pro-fluoridation supporter come out into the open and debate this publicly? So far, they will not, choosing instead to embark on name calling and character assassinations as a way to distract the public from the facts.
They know fluoridation does not stand up to public scrutiny as proved by the councils that actually look at all the information in a calm and civilised manner. Time for New Zealanders to demand these people come out and debate in open public forum conducted on neutral ground.