The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is delighted that the long running law change on decision-making for community water fluoridation has passed its third reading today.
NZDA’s water fluoridation spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole says it’s tremendous news that the country will now see a decision made centrally, instead of on a regional basis.
“The main downside under the old system was the lack of consistency between decisionmakers on this. This led to major dental health inequalities, as regions that didn’t have fluoride saw poorer dental health outcomes compared to areas that did receive fluoridated supplies.
This became a story of haves and have nots, as roughly half of the country was fluoridated, while the other half was not.
Our member dentists have all contributed to this outcome today. The membership has put in time and resources, not only over the past decade, but they’ve backed community water fluoridation, in some cases, since the 1950s,” said Dr Beaglehole.
“NZDA would like to commend Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall for proceeding with the legislation. And would like to thank all political parties for the unanimous support the Bill received.
As a public health measure this is a safe, effective, and most importantly, equitable solution,” concluded Dr Beaglehole.
The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament five years ago, by then Minister Hon Peter Dunne, with the Bill not receiving its second reading until this year.
The Bill was recently revised by an Supplementary Order Paper to devolve the decision-making power for community water fluoridation to the Director-General of Health.