The mayors of two Wairarapa districts facing water fluoridation as default both said they would prefer consumer choice on the issue.
Last week, the Government announced plans to amend the Fluoridation Bill, first introduced in 2016.
Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said adding the chemical to drinking water would boost the nation’s oral health.
Verrall, who visited Wairarapa last weekend in her other role as Minister for Seniors, said the amendments would put the decision in the hands of the director general of health’s office rather than local councils or district health boards.
She said the Fluoridation Bill “recognises water fluoridation is a health-related issue”.
“Community water fluoridation is a proven public health measure that will make a big difference to children’s wellbeing.”
Verrall said local councils would be responsible for fluoridation’s capital and operational costs, but funds would be available to support related infrastructure work.
However, Carterton Mayor Greg Lang and South Wairarapa counterpart Alex Beijen both said they would prefer councils and ratepayers to make that decision.
Beijen said he was happy with the status quo, “where local people could choose additives to their water”.
“However, as central government continue to move control of local government matters to government departments, this oversight is removed from a forum where public have their say.”
*Original article online at https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/wairarapa-mayors-back-consumer-choice-on-fluoride/GMV4AGJUKJYC5AWWOSO65ZNZ3M/