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Southland Campaign Information
The Southland DHB again approached the Southland District Council to fluoridate, resulting in a referendum in conjunction with the 2007 local body elections. In spite of minimal involvement by FANNZ, though some limited local activity, Southland again voted against fluoridation.
Previous update: 23 February 2003
The Southland District Council was approached by the Southland District Health Board to fluoridate its water supplies. The Council advised that it would consult with local Community Boards and carry out their wishes. However the Council passed a motion, based solely on a presentation by the local pro-fluoridation zealot McKay and without obtaining any contrary information, supporting fluoridation “in principle”. Some Community Boards now believe that they are just supposed to rubber stamp the Council’s “in principle decision“, which the Council will then say was the Community Boards’ decisions, not the Council’s.
Meanwhile the level of consultation by the Community Boards has varied: much is abysmal or non-existent. This has led to a delay in the Southland Council considering the matter, originally scheduled for December 2003, then its first meeting in 2004.
Some Community Boards have done nothing more than listen to a presentation by McKay, spouting the usual unsubstantiated propaganda. A local member, who spoke at the Winton meeting, offered to speak at such meetings, asking only for transport, which was not, in the event, provided. At Winton this speaker was not permitted to take a place on the stage with McKay but told to sit in the audience. He spoke well, with a Powerpoint presentation, and the meeting was predominantly against fluoridation.
The Chair refused to take a vote, stating that 60 people was not representative of Winton. When asked what, then, the purpose of the meeting was he replied “this is our consultation”!
FAN(NZ) wishes to acknowledge the commitment to the Gore District Council in obtaining both sides of the issue. They have received information from us, and even flew Dr Mike Godfrey down for a lunchtime meeting on Friday 20 February. (Dr Godfrey is part of an international dental association opposed to fluoridation). We understand that the meeting was strongly anti-fluoridation, and gave McKay a pretty hard time.
We are advised that McKay is claiming that the York Review is out of date and has been superseded by research at Otago University. Firstly, we note that the Ministry relies on pre-1990 studies to support its position ! If 2000 is out of date these are prehistoric- and secondly, we are not aware of any internationally published peer reviewed study coming out of Otago which has been accepted as authoritative – I guess when you are falling off the cliff any straw will do.
The Southland District Council has voted to fluoridate the small unfluoridated towns of the deep south if the local community boards so request. A petition is now being circulated by a local Winton resident who has also arranged to present his arguments and objections to the Community and Public Health Advisory Committee, the Winton Community Board and the Southland District Council. If you know anyone in the deep south, please let him or her know of the Council’s impending plan and see if they can help.
Earlier news from Winton:
On Saturday 30 August the Southland Times printed the latest dental decay figures for Southland. They were released by the Southland DHB to support their campaign for fluoridation. However, the figures actually provide anti-fluoridation ammunition.
There is one significant omission from this list: Bluff. Bluff is a low socio-economic area which has fluoridation. We suspect the figure for Bluff is bad and was therefore omitted “accidentally”. A local campaigner wrote to the Southland DHB asking for the Bluff figure.
After a month of phone calls and visits to the SDHB office, he finally got a reply to his request for the Bluff figure and other details of the survey.
The SDHB sent him a carefully worded letter saying that the data is the personal property of the Principal Dental Officer and therefore is not subject to the Official Information Act! This of course arrant nonsense. It is obvious why the SDHB doesn’t want to release the figures: if they supported fluoridation they would be publicising them.
We have obtained the Southland District Council’s fluoridation timeline. It appears that there will be eight public meetings around Southland. Each meeting (we think) will determine the fate for that particular community.
The dates/venues have not been finalized, but the dates will probably be in the following ranges:
|Public Meeting Otautau||11-13 November|
|Public Meeting Ohai/Nightcaps||11-13 November|
|Public Meeting Te Anau||11-13 November|
|Public Meeting Riverton||25-27 November|
|Public Meeting Winton||25-27 November|
|Public Meeting Tuatapere||25-27 November|
|Public Meeting Manapouri||2-4 December|
|Public Meeting Mossburn||2-4 December|
We assume the Principal Dental Officer of someone from the MoH will be addressing each meeting.
The Gore District Council (a different council from SDC) is also planning public meetings (two we think). No dates yet, but they will probably also occur before Christmas.