Fluoridation War Over (for now!)
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 10:21AM
Bill Barclay

The Great Thames Fluoridation War was over in minutes at the Community Board this morning when one by one each member stated their position. At five in favour of retaining, and two against I departed - I have heard quite enough well meant, but nevertheless emotional internet derived clap-trap yesterday to last me until the next round - no doubt at election time. The motion to retain will follow with the recommendation going to full Council for adoption in the Annual Plan - its members will breath a sigh of relief at having being able to avoid the decision made this morning.

Everyone with half a brain will have realised that the so called 'survey' was a complete and utter waste of time (and money!), but it had to be undertaken, though why at this this time remains a complete mystery. The results were revealing. Leaving aside Libby Boyd's totally spurious 'petitions' (that for unfathonable reasons were counted in the total 'for and against'),  the figures clearly showed a 66% in favour of retention. Including all the rubbish resulted in about 52% in favour of removal, but it means nothing. 513 odd respondents does not add up to more than a heap of beans in the context of this town, and a huge percentage of those were from outside the actual reticulated area. Whatever argument is used to include these outsiders, it still does not add up to much support for removal. In any case, the total failure of the form distribution (over 20 streets apparently, and most of Tararu) means that the whole thing could have been challenged through a judicial review had any weight been given to it, resulting in removal. Whatever the case, our Board members appeared to be earning their keep today, and deliberated with great 'deliberation'. Cheers!

Baverstock was the swinger and held her fire until the last moment - that must have caused real angst amongst the small group who Libby Boyd manages to drag out of the woodwork every time the issue comes up, and who put their various bone and muscle complaints down to the presence of the dreaded toxic substance in the water supply.They all pulled their chairs up to the side of the Board this morning on the excuse that they could not hear properly, but it was straight out intimidation that Strat should have stopped in its tracks. Sincere in their belief's they may be, but they reminded me of the crones around the guillotine - all that was missing was the click of the needles!

On this occasion the Google 'scientists' who trot out all their un-attributed and un-peer-reviewed opinions gleaned from obscure mostly internet journals and articles were simply out-gunned by expert and professional opinion - all well organised by Robin Plummer, and whose testimony had the ring of authenticity. I won't name them here - they represented virtually every health professional in this town, and all the Ministry and DHB people. 

The last 'unknown' to declare was Lester Yates, and he indicated a 'division' in his family on the issue. His vote was not needed in the end in any case, but he clearly anguished over the decision. No, it Baverstock who swung it, and I expect her to cop some flack as a result. She showed real independence of thought and was not going to be swayed by Connors and Hoadley, though she certainly leaned in that direction early in the piece. Good on you Justine! - you have gone up in my estimation at least, and shown that you can do the job for which you were elected. 'To thine own self, be true!' - never a better example. 

Strat, in his inimitable manner had a 'compromise' position that involved recommending to Council that it adopt a policy of providing filters (at a cost of $240, and $180 a year) to all who wish to have them in order to remove fluoride from their water supply. I wish him luck with that one, but cannot imagine a single councillor voting that one in at unknown cost, and even less benefit. He set the scene at the outset of the meeting with that suggestion as part of his 'retention;' plan. He tried the idea out on just about every submitter - most of whom were bemused, rejected the idea, or said that it was a political decision. Strat had clearly decided that this compromise, along with much praise for those wanting removal. would get him off the hook. I doubt it!

It was of course a substantial slap in the face for Connors and Hoadley who clearly thought they had it won, and who made great declarations this morning of their "open-mindedness". Absolute rubbish of course - they moved and seconded the pre-emptive strike to get it removed from the water supply back in May during the TYP deliberations. and had the vote gone the other way today, that action alone would have sufficed for a complaint to the Auditor-General regarding pre-determination, though I acknowledge the general weakness of the AG in implementing that rule. That Council vote was only lost 5 to 4 by the way. It was interesting to note that immediately following their declaration of "open-mindedness", Strat asked for each member to state their positions, and they both stated their opposition to retention - so much for "open minds"! 

 

 

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