AP Hearings - Fluoride Manipulation
Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:56PM
Bill Barclay

From Day One there has been a well founded suspicion that the tables were turned against submitters in favour of fluoridation, but the evidence was not clear until the receipt of the following e-mail form Dr Felicity Dumble - Medical Officer of Health on 6 may - this was in response to an invitation to comment on a statement she made at the end of the Hearings that she had been in receipt of an extraordinary phone call from CEO David Hammond before they departed Hamilton on the day of the Hearings.

"Rob Aitkin and I were speaking to our submission from the Waikato DHB on the TCDC annual plan. Our submission included support for their continuing fluoridation in Thames. I had confirmed prior as to how long we would have to speak and I was told Rob and I would have 10 minutes only between us, i.e. 5 minutes each. We had modified our presentation accordingly and I forwarded that electronically on the Monday as requested. On the day of our presentation scheduled for 15 50 with a request we be there 1 hour early (departing 1:15) at 10am on Tuesday 30th I received a call from David Hammond. He said they did not want to see the same presentation as provided for the community board in January and they did not want a "sales pitch". He asked that we respond to the questions..
Why is it important?
What are the alternatives?
Respond to it being medication without choice.
Is there a "plan B" we're working towards? e.g. can more resource be put into education?
He also commented that people representing organisations in support of fluoridation didn't know what was going on "below the surface" and were not well informed on the details. I said we would be happy to respond to any concerns or questions from the counsellors.
This gave me very little time to modify and resend our presentation and his tone was quite brusque."

This followed the distribution of a letter during Hearings by one of the opponents of fluoridation which makes pretty clear Hammond's position on fluoride - he was clearly not a dispassionate party to these Hearings, and attitude towards fluoride was further exemplified by encouragement that he was seen to provide to Jane Beck at the January TCB Hearings regarding tactics. He appeared anything but a neutral party at that time.

An extract from his letter dated 4 July 2011 addressed to a submitter - one Pat McNair:

Council has decided to remove fluoridation from from the Tauramanui Water Supply. There was considerable debate over the issue which was sell submitted on, and Council heard from speakers of bioth perspectives. Factors in the decision included (not exhaustive):

- The introduction of fluoridation into Tauramanui without a significant consultation process in the 1960's

- The role of the Council in health outcomes when it does not fully understand the science, nor is able or willing to monitor outcomes. Council is not primarily a provider of health or dental products.

- The lack of choice possible by a blanket treatment amongst population today, man of whom desire choice.

- The lack of unequivocal statements of safety of fluoride to all people who do not have the choice to not inject it.

I think you will get the drift of just where Mr Hammond is coming from - he has been and remains influential in the final decision being made here next week.

It is further of great concern that Dr Jane Beck was able to secure 40 minutes in order to present her case, and yet the Medical Officer of Health is given 10 minutes to share with her Regional Dental Officer - Rob Aitkin. The manner in which this decision and other matters of concern to Mr Hammond were conveyed leaves a great deal to be desired, and will constitute further evidence for use in due course should any Judicial Hearing be sought by fluoride proponents - a course of action made more likely by the day as the process followed by this Council comes further under scrutiny.

Tomorrow, the TCB goes back into consideration of the deliberations, and will undoubtedly provide 'guidance' to Council in terms of the 'decision' it should make next week in regard to the 'recommendation' that it provided earlier on 25 January. Such is life in new reconstituted Board oriented Council.  

 

Update on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 4:19PM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

The Board finally decided to stand by its decision from 25 January and recommend continuation, but not before a determined attempt by Cr Connors (Hoadley absent, again!) to have the recommendation to Council changed to exclude the words "of the Thames water supply" - this was a cunning way to force  Council consider fluoridation for all its water supplies rather than just Thames. Although that may indeed be a desirable outcome, it would certainly have served to scuttle the Thames treatment in the meantime, and while full consultation could be held with the emtire District.

The attempted sabotage failed but not before weak-link - Justine Baverstock had changed to back Connors - it only went through 3:2 as a result (French was away at a Chairman's  course).

Don't believe for a a moment that this is it - far from it - Council will still have to go through the Determination process next week and you can expect there to be a last ditch attempt by the anti crew to pull some stunt at the last moment. Libby Boyd tried a less than subtle attempt to challenge the Board this morning with a legal warning.

Mayor Leitch made it clear during a half hour pre-election address to the Board that he believed that proper consultation had ensued, that the decision would be  made to continue, and that the next opportunity would not be until Levels of Service were considered during the Ten Year Plan process in 2015. That sent quite a number of the gang who had turned up to support Libby to depart the Chamber, and the pros who turned up to show the flag should the antis get a hearing decided to hold their fire and go home.

It would be funny if it was not so bloody time-wasting, and such a waste of money - the entire fluoride process, initiated by Connors and Hoadley last year has probably cost in excess of $60,000, and counting. 

 

 

 

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