Fluoride Action Network

Anti-fluoride group takes Wellington Water, councils to court

Source: Stuff NZ | September 13, 2022 | By Wellington Higher Courts reporter
Posted on September 13th, 2022
Location: New Zealand

Wellington’s water fluoridation problems might finally be easing but now an anti-fluoride group is trying to turn off the tap again.

New Health New Zealand has sued Wellington Water, Wellington City Council and Hutt City Council.

Fluoride is added to water to help prevent tooth cavities, but New Health disputes its value, says it is potentially a health risk and removes freedom of choice.

At a hearing of a preliminary issue at the High Court in Wellington on Tuesday Justice Francis Cooke said a recent law change included a provision that local authorities already adding fluoride to water had to keep adding it.

Even though parts of the Wellington Water system broke down, it was difficult to see how the duty to continue adding fluoride to the water did not apply, the judge said.

But New Health’s lawyer Tiho Mijatov? said the continuing obligation must be to add fluoride in a consistent, optimal, and steady way. In Wellington’s case that had not been happening for several years.

It has asked the court to make an order to stop further steps being taken to add fluoride to the water pending a full hearing of its case. Inexpensive fluoride tablets were available at pharmacies for those that wanted them, he said.

The court was told Wellington City and Hutt City councils had been adding fluoride since the 1960s. It was just days ago that two of the water treatment plants started reaching optimal levels of fluoridation again, said Andrew Butler, the lawyer opposing New Health’s case.

Fluoridation had stopped only while two of the four plants that added fluoride were repaired, Butler said.

Wellington and Hutt City councils wanted fluoride added but were not told it was not being done at optimal levels. While reintroducing fluoride had not been a priority for Wellington Water that was not the attitude of the councils, Butler said.

New Health ultimately just wanted a declaration about the concept of fluoridation, so they should just get on with pursuing that without involving the reintroduction of fluoride into the water, Butler said.

One of the issues for the High Court is whether the Supreme Court has already decided against New Health in the fluoridation debate. New Health failed in an attempt to stop fluoride being added to water supplies in two Taranaki towns.

The judge reserved his decision.

*Original article online at: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/129864439/antifluoride-group-takes-wellington-water-councils-to-court