The decision on whether fluoridation of Whakatane District water supplies will continue, be expanded or cease will be made in January.
The Whakatane District Council’s Policy Committee agreed it had sufficient information to make a decision, informed by the results of the non-binding referendum carried out alongside the 2013 elections.
However, the Committee will invite one representative from each side of the fluoridation debate to put forward their case in the public forum section of its next meeting on January 28, 2016.
The 2013 referendum showed, overall, 60.5 per cent of those who voted were in favour of fluoridation, with 39.5 per cent against. However, there were significant differences in voting patterns between communities.
Communities voting for fluoridation were: Ohope (70.5 per cent), Whakatane (65.8 per cent), Rangitaiki (55.8 per cent) and Murupara-Galatea (51 per cent); while communities voting against were Murupara – Te Urewera (84.6 per cent), Murupara – Murupara (77.4 per cent) and Taneatua (53.1 per cent).
Community views on fluoridation have been sought in the past through the use of referenda in 1995 and 2001, with both showing there was a slight majority in favour (54 per cent in 1995 and 63 per cent in 2001).
As a result of those findings, the Council resolved to continue adding fluoride to the Whakatane and Ohope public water supply.