Fluoride Action Network

Three Victories in New Zealand

Source: International Fluoride Information Network | April 15th, 2002
Location: New Zealand

Dear All,

NYSCOF has forwarded us two articles containing information about three victories (Inglewood, Kaitake and Timaru) against fluoridation in New Zealand.

The second article below is full of irony. Ms. Karen Poutasi of the NZ Ministry of Health, is quoted as saying, that she had “access to the best of information and analysis” and that fluoridation is “safe and effective” and that “it was important that people put aside their beliefs and look at all the evidence available”. However, this is the same Ms. Poutassi who was challenged by the NZ Pure Water Association to debate the issue with me in public (I will be touring NZ in May-June) but declined. Apparently this information which she finds so convincing behind closed doors, is not for public airing!

Hopefully, citizens will tell Ms. Poutasi that if the State wishes to continue to expose its population to this dangerous practice that they had better get out there in public and defend the policy. If she, or her colleagues don’t do this, not only will they find it increasingly difficult to put fluoride into new communities, but they will find it even more difficult persuading fluoridated communities not to take it out.

Paul Connett.

Daily News – New Plymouth

April 12, 2002

Kaitake and Inglewood have fluoride ruled out

THE New Plymouth District Council yesterday ruled out any prospect of fluoride being added to the water supplies of Inglewood and Kaitake.

In a surprise move, the council overturned a recommendation of its own policy committee to hold referenda in the two areas.

Yesterday’s decision was clear, with only councillor Mike Merrick voting against the change of direction.

The flip-flop disappointed Lyndie Foster Page, who was one of two dentists urging the council to add fluoride to the remaining water supplies in the New Plymouth district.

“It surprises and disappoints me. We had the full support of the District Health Board too.

“Now we’ll continue to have decay rates higher than New Plymouth, especially among the poorer socio-economic groups,” she said.

The Inglewood and Kaitake community board chairpersons, Jean Pierce and Sue Henchman, also had a change of heart.

They told councillors they were now against holding referenda, despite their respective boards recommending last month they do so.

After yesterday’s council meeting, Mrs Pierce said she had consulted her board members earlier in the day after hearing of a possible move to do away with the referenda.

“They supported the change unanimously. I’ve only had one phone call. We had a poll 10 years ago and 91% were against adding fluoride.

“I think the community will be happy with the decision. And the $30,000 cost of holding a referendum was an awful lot of money.”

Mrs Henchman was also unrepentant about her new stance. “Originally we went with the referenda and, normally, I wouldn’t go back on a vote, but in this particular instance I can see the sense in staying with the status quo.” She had not discussed it with her board, but was confident it would support her.

Councillor Elaine Gill led the move to over-rule the policy committee’s decision. She said the previous council had debated the fluoride issue and held a tribunal on it because there was a groundswell of opinion in New Plymouth.

“I don’t feel there is the same feeling about it now. I just wasn’t supportive of the committee’s recommendation. I would stress that I am not anti-fluoride, in fact I’m very much for it.”

Mr Merrick was the only one to vote against the move. “That’s because I believe referenda is an appropriate way of dealing with the issue. I suggested it when New Plymouth debated it, but had no support then.”

Mayor Peter Tennent said that although the council did not make a habit of rejecting the recommendations of its standing committees, it had every right to.

“Revisiting it is democracy in action.”

Timaru Herald

April 6, 2002

Timaru told to look at fluoride evidence

Timaru people against the re-introduction of fluoride to the water supply, should pull back and look at all the evidence in an objective way, Director General of Health Karen Poutasi said yesterday.

Dr Poutasi believes that all local bodies in New Zealand should put fluoride in their water supplies.

She said it was the best way to protect against caries, decay in the teeth, and evidence showed it was safe and effective.

However, Timaru people have rejected the addition of fluoride to their water supply and campaigned successfully to have it removed.

They condemned it as enforced mass medication and as unsafe.

Dr Poutasi said she had access to the best of information and analysis that fluoride was an important part of primary health care and was safe. She said it was important that people put aside their beliefs and looked at all the evidence available, and to then decide whether they could accept that fluoride was the right way to go.