Hamilton Council "Gutless"
Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 12:11PM
Bill Barclay

In a stunning display of hypocrisy, Judith 'Crusher' Collins went on the warpath last week calling members of Hamilton City Council "gutless" for having voted 7:1 in favour of dropping fluoride.

Stupid, ignorant, or easily led by the nose - maybe, but "gutless'' - strong words from a government that along with all its predecessors since the 1940's has failed to provide leadership on this issue, and simply mandate fluoride in the face of the incontrovertible evidence of its efficacy in the context of this country's relatively low levels of naturally occurring fluoride. Instead, they have left it to councils with all all the usual range of abilities and knowledge to adjudicate on a subject about which they are generally demonstrably ignorant, and thus further put at risk the health of generations of children, particularly in the lower socio-economic group.

It is not their fault, and for Collins to accuse them of being "gutless" is almost laughable in the circumstances. It is one subject that pollies of all stripes run a mile from as was amply demonstrated in our recent experience here in Thames where we escaped removal by dint alone of Cr Hoadley's absence from a meeting.

But it is typical of the total disdain demonstrated by central government recently towards local government prerogatives - witness the threat to override the Auckland Plan in order to remove democratic oversight of resource consenting. It will undoubtedly be further demonstrated in the manner in which area authorities are imposed within Government determined geographical boundaries.

We may have demonstrated over the years a propensity to secretly admire dominant personalities like Muldoon and Collins, but Nick Smith is showing some quite dictatorial tendencies that we have not seen for some time, and we may come to regret his return to the Front Bench. It is of course all wrapped up in rapid-fire, barely understandable rhetoric masking a steely determination.  The LGA's Lawrence Yule is no match I am afraid, and Mr Smith has all the cards.




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