More than 300 people have spoken out against Napier’s water being fluoridated in a petition circulating the city.
In less than a week, Napier resident Matthew Kingi has gathered around 310 signatures on his petition, which he plans to present to Parliament – and maybe Napier City Council, and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.
He will be doing this ahead of the second reading of a controversial bill which seeks to amend the Health Act 1956.
The bill gives District Health Boards (DHBs) the power to make decisions, and give directions about the fluoridation of drinking water supplies. Currently the decision to fluoridate rests with local authorities.
Mr Kingi said he had been against fluoride for several years as “I believe it has negative effects on our health, and our mental capacity”.
He started the petition after watching the “outrageous” bill progress through the parliamentary process, and wanted to make sure local residents knew it was happening.
“I want to tell people about another position of what fluoride does, and where it comes from,” he said. “It seems like a lot of people are really against it.”
“Napier people are very proud of their water, and want to keep it like it is.”
Hastings is the only district in the Hawke’s Bay area with a fluoridated water supply. Nearly half of the country’s population has access to fluoridated water.
Yesterday scientist Dr Michelle Dickinson – known as “Nanogirl” – weighed in on the benefits of fluoridation.
“The scientific evidence clearly indicates positive dental health outcomes from water fluoridation, particularly for lower socio-economic communities,” she said.
“I support the move to give DHBs the power to make these decisions, they should be health-based decisions, made considering the best evidence available.”
The bill was introduced in Parliament late last year.
When this occurred, the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board stated while it had a “strong policy in favour of water fluoridation”, there would be a number of steps taken before making such a decision.
Parliament will debate the second reading of the fluoridation bill on June 6.
Once the legislation is passed, DHBs are expected to start making decisions about community water fluoridation in 2018.