It was the only formally-organised chance to meet the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) candidates before the election – and fluoride was the big issue.
Seven of the 14 people vying for a seat on the SCDHB took part in the Greypower Temuka-organised meeting at the Temuka RSA on Wednesday, They were joined by candidates for the Timaru District Council’s Pleasant Point-Temuka and Geraldine wards.
About 16 people were there to hear the 11 candidates go through their reasons for standing and respond to questions.
Before then, four term incumbent Peter Binns had been the most regular attendee of candidate meetings. most usually called for people to meet council candidates.
Incumbent board deputy chairman Ron Luxton said he and other candidates had not felt the need to attend those meetings as they had fielded phone calls from interested people.
The only other board incumbents to attend the Temuka meeting were Raeleen De Joux and Terry Kennedy.
Joy Paterson, of Twizel, spoke of the problems of her area being 200kms away from the nearest hospital, while Greg O’Brien took a hard line on what he considered the lack of funding from the Ministry of Health.
Rachel Tomkinson spoke of healthy eating as a means to prevent health issues, and of her anti-fluoride stance.
Kennedy advocated further referendums on the place of fluoride in water supplies, while O’Brien said he was against “mass medication”.
Other dental health methods worked well overseas and could be the answer instead of fluoridation, he said.
Binns suggested the public health system should be extended to cover dental health. That would render the fluoride issue obsolete.
De Joux had another take on water’s place in health.
“There are bigger water issues than fluoridation like the quantity and quality of water and the dangerous nitrate levels,” De Joux said.