Before the battle lines were even set over whether Patea and Waverley should have fluoride in their water, the fighting had begun.

South Taranaki District Council signed off on plans for public consultation on the contentious debate on Monday night.

But the sign-off only came after debate over locations to be consulted and the rules of the contest.

Anti-fluoride speakers Jenette Wilson and Stephen Barrett repeated demands that their town of Hawera – which is fluoridated – be included in the consultation.

Mrs Wilson said 90 per cent of Europe did not fluoridate and named several countries which had either opted not to use it or had stopped.

Councillor Peter Johnson asked her how many statistics she had from South Taranaki dentists.

Mrs Wilson said dentists were often “not correct” and better care for teeth could be found in proper nutrition and education.

Mr Barrett said a recent survey of South Taranaki paediatricians and dentists was “laughable” and could not contribute to any scientific debate.

There was also dispute about the “fluoride fact sheet” which STDC will send out to the two communities.

Councillor Michael Self said all information should go out, including information from anti-fluoride DVDs, CDs and articles that STDC had received.

Councillor Ian Wards pointed out the fact sheet was just basic information.

It spoke about levels of fluoridation, where it currently occurs and what the costs would be.

“It’s not arguing one way or another,” Mr Wards said.

STDC’s community development manager, Claire Symes, said as a primary presenter at upcoming public meetings in Patea and Waverley, the Fluoride Action Network would be able to have all their information on display.

Mr Barrett said STDC was being selective with information by including some pro-fluoride research done elsewhere while leaving out others.