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'Fluoride' - Not Over, Not by a Long Shot!

Criticising our Community Board (which met today) is somewhat like shooting rabbits in a cage – not satisfying, and probably unhelpful. Strat was even further out of his depth as he attempted to again defend the indefensible over fluoride which made another unexpected appearance on the order paper.

The reasons and background were explained by the increasingly impressive new Governance Manager Angela Jane. It appears that the recent changes to the Act have  severely reduced the matters than must be consulted on for the Ten Year Plan. Consultation is now restricted essentially to matters of substance and with insignificant financial implications. TYP fluoride consultation that was anticipated when disposed of last year is no longer required as part of the TYP. But it was necessary to formally deal to last year’s resolution – hence its appearance in today’s Order Paper.

Notwithstanding, the local vocal anti-fluoride claque were out in force in an endeavour to save the consultation. Jane Beck and Libby Boyd were in full flight, ably supported by Denise Davis and later, we had a full throated outburst from a scruffy youth who shouted at the Board until escorted from the Chamber by Greg Hampton.

He was undoubtedly encouraged by the large (1000mm x 500mm) signs that were waved and displayed in the public gallery. (“FLUORIDE IS GENOCIDE” was one amongst many).  The theory within the anti-fluoride ranks appears to be that the louder, the bigger, the better; and Libby made a spectacular exit rattling her huge bags of props using the same tactics. Strat sat through this disturbance looking bemused and confused (refer back to first para!)

The motion was as follows:

1. Receives the 'Fluoridation in Thames' report dated 10 November 2014.

2. Recommend that consultation is not undertaken on the matter of fluoridation for the   2015-25 LTP and;

3. Recommend that future consultation on the matter of fluoridation only be reconsidered if prompted by advice from the Ministry of Health.

It was passed finally 4 (French, Yates, Goudie & Cassidy) to 3 (Peters, Simpson & Connors). Strat had tabled a confused ‘bob both ways’ document that seemed to be saying that he supported everyone having their say - I think!

But hold on, Connors then tried to put a motion that completely contradicted this Resolution by recommending that the full Council reconsider further consultation under the new SCP (Special Consultation Procedure) that allows for such matters to be dealt with outside of the TYP. Much discussion followed in the Lounge away from prying eyes that led to Connors moving that Para 3 above be rescinded and replaced with the SCP.

This of course required a majority of 75% in accordance with Standing Orders (the only way to rescind a motion that you have just passed) which was duly obtained and her Motion adopted. Wow! – that means that this whole shemozzle will be repeated again next year, and forever into the future I suspect unless Council can find a way to shut it down. I won’t describe the unedifying discussion that ensued around the table – it showed abysmal ignorance of what had gone before on the part of most – but not Goudie I am happy to report!

It seems to me that SCP opens a 12 x 12 month can of worms that would have been handily put to bed under the previous arrangement for ten years. Everyone thought that the Taranaki High Court case would break the nexus – but no such luck – merely a step on way to the Court of Appeal for the tireless and committed anti brigade.


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Reader Comments (9)

In response to your blog Bill on the flouride issue ......yes I do feel like rabbit in a cage over this one since the beginning....We would all like to duck this issue... it is a public health issue and should not fall back on communities to decide.

I was neither bemused or confused nor surprised by some of the events that unfolded at this meeting.....the frustration on both sides of the fence was apparent

I have to maintain impartiality and recognise that it is just as much peoples rights to request flouridation in water supply as it is other peoples right to request an unflouridated opt out option. The economic and technical implications could be very difficult .Never the less we have to explore these options

Bill , you are happy to portray me as appearing somewhat bemused and confused during the events of this item on the to was King Solomon when charged with deciding who was the rightful mother of a baby that two women each claimed as their own. Solomon solved this problem by declaring the baby must be cut in half...naturally the real mother objected with great fervour and solomon deducted that she was in fact the rightful parent.

I am just Strat Peters not King solomon and the question is just as tricky and not as simplistic as you would have it. The dogma abounds on both sides with strong arguement's for and against. My duty from a community board perspective was to try and rank this issue in terms of importance to our ratepayers and ensure that all potential avenues for consultation were canvassed

Thank you
Strat Peters

November 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStrat Peters

Thanks Strat - I simply reported it as I observed it, and confusion was evident throughout.
You are entitled to your view on what should no longer be a difficult issue - I just do not believe that the evidence requires the incredibly divisive debate to continue as it has. It is a non issue as far as I am concerned following the Taranaki Hugh Court decision, and the recent Health Department Expert Report - what else do you need to know - they were the only two questions remaining from last years debate. When staff attempted to take the necessary steps to finalise it yesterday, you continued to equivocate. The buck passing to the full Council won't achieve anything other than more outrageous displays as we were subjected to yesterday.
And yes, I hold you responsible - you as the leader of this Board could have ended it yesterday by supporting the staff motion - instead all you have done is to prolong the pain and pander to the vocal minority who are determined to impose their views on everyone else, regardless of the clear and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Your desire to prolong consultation is simply an invitation keep the fires fanned until the silent majority is singed into submission.

November 25, 2014 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Hi Bill

The TCB decision with the final resolution was unaminous and be careful about holding me personally responsible for that decision because I chair TCB. Please read the resolution carefully which now simply asks Council to rank its own importance with this issue in terms of the new consultation process and other areas of Council process. outside of LTP...The decision may be very different to our considerations as a community board as their priorities are significantly different

If I was wearing my "Council Hat" the decision we made could/may or may not be different outcome because district priorities are different to our Community Boards

This issue is not just about what you think or I is about what is a fair outcome for Thames Community people, given the issue had a high interest in 2013. Unfortunately I am dealing with the political dualities which exist which are "they know best for for themselves" or "we know best for others"....and so it goes on. We try to be informative and explicit with how we decide on matters but some things like this issue are not as easy as you portray......end of conversation for me Bill... a meeting would be good instead of this carry on anytime...


November 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStrat Peters

What are you on about Strat?
Wasn't the whole idea of being 'empowered' by District Council was so you could make such fundamental decisions??
So what would be the Councils ' priorities' -- were they not conveyed to you prior to the meeting?
How much different are they to what the Board think about flouride??
And what of this 'Council hat' you are wearing? We all thought you were elected to the Thames Community Board?
oh dear all so confusing--no wonder why you a 'bob each way man'

November 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTooth Fairy

I guess it goes without saying that at least King Solomon made a decision, and wise it was. We elect people to positions of leadership so that they will lead. Sometimes hard decisions need to be made - that is why we have leaders....

November 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I thought the Fluoride question had been put to bed with the Taranaki decision and the more recent expert report, it's a technical matter best left to Dept of Health and we certainly don't have the expertise on the Community Board or Council to make sound informed technical decisions.
I was surprised to find Fl had been on the order paper ,we (the pro-fluoride) certainly hadn't been made aware ...and of course the anti -brigade were aware and made an emotional scene with one protestor being led out of the meeting. Knowing how contentious this issue is, a pity the Community Board hadn't informed us.
We now have a situation where minority interests on the Board are dictating how we should proceed by adopting the SCP procedure !! What a mess.
King Solomon certainly showed what is needed for good leadership .....sound,positive decision making .

November 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

You are now targeting me personally for what was a unaninmous decision by the Community Board in terms of what they thought was the best decision going forward in terms of the process and relevance of this issue. As you say this is a public health issue and not one that the Community Board should have been dealing with from the outset. If this issue had appropriately gone to the LTTP consultation in 2012/13 as a district water activity then perhaps finality would have been obtained back in 2012/13. It is an issue which a lot of people and organisations including central government have been ducking and good old Community Board has been the scapegoat. If I have shown a lack of leadership over this issue because it does not exactly suit your purpose than I apologise...but it is a no win situations....I hope you all will stand at the next election and show that better leadership which apparently you say I lack. For a person that has given his heart and soul to Thames these comments are very disappointing. Especially from the quarter that it is coming from


November 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStrat Peters

Sorry Strat --we thought you were the chair!
This should have been put to bed months ago and as chairman you have allowed it to drag on and on
Surely the board has better things to do then worry about flouride.
One question maybe you could answer , if Council thinks it is a good thing for Thames then no doubt they will place flouride in all of the water treatment plants on the Peninsula- all 5 of them?
Strat I suggest you read the Mike HOSKING article in todays NZ Herald - about Mayor BROWN, then ask yourself if there are any simlarities between you both

November 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTooth Fairy

Right, comments are now closed on this post - it is fluoride by the way - not about flour, or Strat - simply the inability of the Board (including Strat) to come to terms with the need to show leadership, and common sense. I think there has been enough water under this bridge.

November 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill Barclay

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