The Waikato Times has been caught out reversing its online survey results about the Hamilton City Council’s decision on Thursday to defer its fluoridation decision. The poll asked people if they supported the council’s decision to wait until the after the legal challenge currently before the High Court is decided. 68% of people said “yes” and only 32%.said “no” but the Waikato Times misrepresented this as 68% saying “no” and 32% saying “yes”.
Various members of the public had taken screen shots when the poll was running so were shocked to see the newspaper print the poll with the results reversed. Fluoride Free Hamilton spokesperson, Pat McNair, posted the screen shots on the Waikato Times Facebook and many people commented how they had seen those results when they had voted.
However, instead of responding and correcting the mistake, they removed all comments, covering up their deception. Direct communication has failed to elicit a retraction.
So how much faith can we put in the Times’ survey results during the recent fluoridation referendum campaign? How many of those did it falsify and did this affect how people voted?
Another example was brought to Mrs McNair’s attention earlier in the year when another member of the public had screen shots of a Waikato Times fluoride poll where the number of people voting in the poll went backwards.
For years the Times has been the DHB’s cheerleader for its outdated fluoridation policy. During the recent referendum, every article was heavily biased in support of fluoridation, practically all the opinion pieces were pro-fluoridation and the only two pieces that were opposed to fluoridation, one written by a local highly qualified academic and the other by a local oncologist, were only in print and not online like all the pro-fluoridation ones.
They even had the audacity to have huge headlines saying “New Poll, We want fluoride on Tap” right in the middle of the referendum voting.
A referendum manipulated by hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer-funded resources, and a complicit Waikato Daily Times, is not grounds for reversing the right decision. Mayor Hardaker‘s vote against fluoridation, or her main opponent’s (Ewan Wilson) ardent support, was highly likely to have been a factor that tipped Hardarker’s re-election. Conversely, Central Hawke’s Bay District councillors who voted for fluoridation in 2009 were mostly removed from office.
Hamilton Councillors can rest assured the public is firmly behind its decision not to reintroduce fluoridation at this time. They can equally rest assured that the Waikato Times cannot be trusted to print the truth.
The Council should also be confident that its decision after the robust Tribunal process was the right one.
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Waikato Times Opinion Poll Actual Results
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