Mayor Julie Hardaker had the casting vote when it came to deciding on the wording for the referendum on fluoride to be held during the October local government elections.
With councillor Angela O’Leary absent, votes were equally split on the motion to word the question “should Hamilton City public water supply be fluoridated?” at last week’s extraordinary council meeting so the mayor had the casting vote.
But councillor Martin Gallagher says the wording should have been “more robust and forthright” and at least have included the scientific term for fluoride in the question, as Whakatane District Council had done in its fluoride referendum wording.
The full wording is: “Hamilton City Council does not currently add fluoride to the public water supply. The purpose of this poll is to help council to determine whether electors want fluoride in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid added to the public water supply. The result of this poll is not binding on Hamilton City Council.
“Should Hamilton City public water supply be fluoridated?
“I vote FOR fluoride being added to the water.
“I vote AGAINST fluoride being added to the water.”
The council also resolved to include two information sheets – one from the Ministry of Health/Waikato DHB in favour of fluoridation and one against fluoridation from Fluoride Free Hamilton.
The council will hold one public meeting, chaired by the electoral officer, to provide an opportunity for the DHB and Fluoride Free Hamilton to present their positions on the referendum.
Fluoride was removed from the city’s water supply on June 21.
Following the council resolution in May to remove fluoride as a result of the tribunal decision, ratepayers were to receive a flyer which outlines the council decision to remove fluoride and provides advice on where to get fluoride should people want to know.
The result of the referendum will not be legally binding on the council.