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Fluoride - The Final Act

Well it went down to the line, just as I predicted. For - Leach, French. Fox & McLean + Leach casting vote. Against - Connors, Brljevich, Wells & Bartley.

The eight antis turned up (without their knitting) to stare down the councillors who may have been wavering just like Justine Baverstock the week before. It is a good tactic, and it worked. Silly old Jan Bartley succumbed and changed his position, along with the inimitable Jack Wells who ran a rearguard action of extraordinary proportions to try to get all manner of additional caveats added to Peter French's motion that was based on the TCB recommendation. Jack has no guile of course and shot himself in the foot when Peter simply withdrew his motion, thus allowing the Mayor to come through the middle with the original motion which postponed any further action until the TYP in 2015.

If it had not been for the absence of Hoadley overseas, the motion would have gone down like a lead balloon, but fortunately on a four/four split Leach had the casting vote, and Thames fluoride is protected until the TYP in 2015, or until the South Taranaki Environment Court challenge based on the illegality of adding fluoride is finalised - that may take a year or two anyway.

The antis sat stunned at the end - I think they thought they had it won, so there are probably a few tears being shed tonight, and Hoadley had better come back with a good excuse for being absent.

I will not go into the machinations which led to the final vote - it took two excruciating hours before finality, and Connors tried every trick in the book to get a different decision - she seems to think that the crones and their backers deserved to get a result purely because of their perseverance. She is still to learn that there is more to getting a decision in your favour than trying to trip up the Mayor. On this occasion he was wide awake to her little wiles, and rightfully put her right in her place by inviting her to move a straight out yes/no motion that would clearly have gone against her. She did not take up the invitation, and finally had to accept defeat on the original motion after Peter withdrew when Wells became recalcitrant with his amendments.

I believe that the four/four was firm before Leach gave his strongest speech of the day based on the clear deviation from the Board Empowerment Model that they had come in on - rejecting the clear wishes of the TCB was not in accord with that model, and he deplored the wavering he was seeing. Denials all round before the final vote, but he was right - they were leaving themselves wide open for attack on that score alone, and will need to justify their positions in due course - that is a given!.

We saw a pretty good demonstration of small town politics on this issue today. It was enlightening, healthy and a damn good fight. The antis lost, but only by the skin of their teeth, and they will be back, believe me.




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Reader Comments (2)


I am not taking sides in the flouride debate, but surely when leach's motion was tied 4-4, he could just as easily have not used his castng vote and declared the staus quo (continuation of current policy with no postponed review)!

In fact it is generally accepted that unless there be exceptional circumstance, a casting vote should only ever be used for continuing the status quo as as a tied vote means there is no clear majority to allow a mandate for change.

This is made especially so when our Council (very inadvisedly) voted to change Standing Orders to allow the Mayor (and other Chairpersons) first a deliberative vote alongside the Councillors and then a casting vote on top of that - which effectively means he has two votes.

That is not standard practice - and for good reason - why should a single person have two votes against everyone else's one?


May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

You are absolutely correct Day - this lot have no clue on SAtranding Orders - Lynley should have picked it up, but allowed it through. I think that Leach was caught off-guard by Bartley's and Well's antics - in fact I know that he was totally flumoxed!

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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