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Friday
Jul312015

Fluoridation Referendum Procedures - Council on Wednesday

The Paper on the subject is here.

The Draft Communication Plan strategy is as follows:

"Thames-Coromandel District Council will use local media and existing Council communication channels to alert people to the fact that a referendum on fluoridation is taking place.

The primary message will be restricted to telling people that a referendum is taking place, and how people can participate - i.e. get on roll by Wednesday 9 September, send back postal vote by Thursday 5 November. Related to this are the messages that only those on the electoral roll within the Thames water supply area of benefit (defined in the map attached to this plan) can participate; and that people can check the electoral roll to see if they are on it and if not can be added to it. Answers to frequently asked questions relating to the process of a referendum will be made available.

Thames-Coromandel District Council will not take a stand on the issue, and will not provide information on pros or cons of fluoridation.

Electoral Services organises Public Notices in Hauraki Herald at statutory intervals.

Thames-Coromandel District Council will use regular pre-booked Our Coromandel advertisements in the Hauraki Herald to spread the key messages. Council has pre-booked advertising space in every second edition. The timetable has been designed to maximise the opportunities to get across key messages without incurring unnecessary additional costs i.e. reminder to the electorate that the roll is open Wednesday 12 August (reminder in 14 August edition of Hauraki Herald) and closing for inspection on Wednesday 9 September (reminder in 28 August edition of Hauraki Herald).

Thames-Coromandel District Council will use our public website and social media channels to spread the key messages."

I have underlined the key sentence.

But Council will need to vote on this staff recommendation on Wednesday. It is critically important that Council follow-through on this recommendation as the consequences of accepting  each sides synopsis of the arguments for and against are just too serious, and inviting of litigation by one side or the other.

Many constituents will complain that they don't know the arguments for and against and criticise the Council  accordingly, but frankly, if they don't know the arguments by now and have thoughts on the matter, then they simply have not been alive over the last three years.

Both sides appear to be preparing for battle using all the resources at their disposal, and we will all be sick and tired of the whole stupid argument before the campaign is over, but that does not obligate the Council to step away from its position of neutrality. Brljevich and Connors in particular will no doubt do all in their power to position the Council in favour of their position as they have done since it first raised its ugly head three years ago.

I must say that I have been impressed with the manner in which Angela Jane - Governance Strategy Manager, has handled the matter, giving no advantage to date to either side, and thus ensuring an absolutely fair decision as far as she is able. It only remains for her, and Senior Policy Analyst Graham McDermott to remain stalwart in the face of the attempts that will inevitably be made on Wednesday to unbalance the Strategy. 

Representatives of both sides will no doubt be present in numbers - the anti-mob have had it virtually their own way to date, but the pros have been stirred from their bed of complacency and lethargy, and are well on the way to providing a stirring rebuttal. It will be an interesting, if enervating battle of wits!

 

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