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Sorry Folks - 'Fluoride Deja Vu'!

Today’s Community Board meeting evolved into a travesty towards its conclusion as a matter revealed in the resigning Area Manager’s Report came to the fore. It heralded the revival of the fluoridation argument that everyone thought had been put to bed with the emphatic 70% referendum result.

Here is the item buried in Greg’s Report:

Thames Water Supply - Non-Fluoridated Water Supply Option

The Thames water supply has fluoride added within the water treatment process. Following a number of public submissions for its removal and a subsequent referendum on continuation of fluoridation of the Thames water supply the Thames-Coromandel District Council resolved at its meeting of 5 August 2015 to: 

1. Receives the 'Referendum on fluoridation of Thames water supply' report dated 12 November 2015.

2. Continues fluoridation of the Thames water supply.

Following this decision the Chief Executive at that time instructed staff to investigate options for providing a non-fluoridated water supply point for public use.

The findings of these investigations will be presented to the meeting for the Thames Community Board to provide a direction forward

The CEO at the time – Hammond, for whatever reason, clearly supported removal of fluoride right through the process, and in the end succumbed to the squeals of the anti-fluoride mavens who had made quite clear that they would “never give up.”

Without Council authority, he instructed staff to pursue the ‘water point’ option knowing full well that the idea of a single water point (Est. capital cost - $11,000, and annual cost of $3-5,000) was just the beginning – the demand for a number of points to service the entire town would follow like ‘night follows day.”

Then today we had the spectacle of Board Chair Connors announcing that with a new Board, it was all on again, and she sought a motion to move to the next stage of a “feasibility and costing study.” Clearly all the members had been well and truly lobbied because it passed in a flash with only Sally Christie demurring with a “I’m neutral, and need to be convinced," plea. So she should in view of her probable future role in the matter as a member of the Waikato Health Board. 

What a shambles. Greg told me that his hands had been tied by the instruction from Hammond – an instruction that should not have been issued in the light of the very clear referendum and resolution. It should have been referred back to Council for authority to pursue ‘other options.’ Such a proposal would I suspect have received pretty short shrift - its members had already made their frustration with the cost and rationale for the referendum pretty clear at the time.

I also question whether the Council, or Board should have any say in the matter in view of the move by Government to take all matters fluoridation away from councils and place them in the hands of the health boards. The health boards will undoubtedly have the clear mandate to take the dental health of the entire community into account during their its decision making process's.

The Board operated today under the baleful eye of Jane Beck and her cohort who will never give up on this issue – she has sought to dominate the argument here in Thames ever since she arrived from the UK, and we have suckered into the stupid argument ever since. I have no doubt that they will fight for another referendum in due course, but in the meantime attempt to pepper the town with ‘water points’ at great cost to ratepayers - it is only a matter of time.

I feel very sorry for those people, including 100% of the local medical and dental profession, who have fought this battle so successfully to date. It is the children’s teeth that will suffer as an outcome of this mad process. The sooner the Government accepts that it has the ultimate repsonsibility for this debabcle the better. Shifting the responsibility to health boards simply does not 'cut the mustard.'




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