Wairoa Campaign


What’s happening in Wairoa in 2023?

The Director General of Health has written to the Wairoa District Council demanding that they provide details of estimated cost of implementation and maintenance of fluoridation for the region.

Letter DG to Wairoa Council

Wairoa Council has responded with the estimates and some questions.

Letter Wairoa Council to DG

Email from Chemical company, Ixom, to Wairoa District Council 16th November 2021 (received under OIA)

I can provide some indicative costings for fluoride systems for HFA (the 22% liquid fluoride solution) which is available as a bulk tanker delivery with a minimum of 3000L drops.

We also supply 1000L IBC’s and 200L Drums.

For Frasertown WTP we suggest the following for consideration:


  1.  A duty standby chemical dosing system using IBC’s with automatic changeover dosing pumps and level feedback in a compliant contained bund will be ~75K +GST supplied to site.
  2. HIAB delivery to site – operators to connect and disconnect the IBC’s
  3. This does not include electrical, fluoride monitoring, civils or a roof for rain/sun protection


  1. A 5000L bulk tank (double skinned) with duty standby dosing pumps and pipework, remote filling point, alarms and level telemetry for driver, safety shower and washdown hose will be ~110K
  2. Bulk tanker (IXOM) to deliver to site – No operator involvement for pump overs
  3. This again does not include electricals, civils, fluoride monitoring or a roof for protection from elements.

For smaller remote sites I would suggest a powder saturator system which Chemfeed or Filtec or Trility could quote on for you.

These systems are easy to use and work well with 5kg powder packs of sodium fluoride granules.

Ixom supply the packs of powder in 5kg sealed containers which the operator then installs on the unit which releases and mixes the powder to a solution.

There is no contact with the chemicals.

Fluoride is a toxic substance which must be handled with care and training is necessary for operators who will use it on sites. Ixom can support this training with supply if requested. 

Wairoa has never been fluoridated – here’s why

In October 2002 the Wairoa District Council voted on to fluoridate the town’s water supply without any real public consultation. There were a few submissions opposing this at the hearing of submissions, but most were encouraging fluoridation and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board sent a contingent of twenty to speak.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Mayor, Les Probert, thanked the attendees and advised that the submissions would be discussed by councillors, and no decision made hurriedly, perhaps taking days if not weeks. That afternoon however, in less than one hour during which all submissions weren’t even looked at, the Council had discussed and voted to fluoridate the water supply. There were two councillors not in attendance, and another councillor had only been sworn in at the beginning of the meeting and wouldn’t have had time to read the submissions. (She voted for fluoridation).

Thanks to the efforts of Sylvia Cole, the Council eventually reversed its decision, and Wairoa was not fluoridated. Syliva instigated a petition and educated the community. She then took the information to the council meetings and persuaded the councillors to reverse their decision.

The Hawkes Bay DHB was at it again however, supported by one of the most blatantly biased editorials we have seen (in Hawkes Bay Today).

What does the Wairoa council know that the bulk of the country doesn’t? Most communities in the land have opted to have their water fluoridated, with Hastings having been one of the first, back in 1954.The water treatment results in measurable reductions in tooth decay and no obvious harmful side effects for the health of users. In the 50 years of water fluoridation in New Zealand, repeated dental studies have shown considerable benefit for all age groups, in both avoided fillings and extractions and financial savings. But it is a contentious issue, with all kinds of outlandish claims made by opponents, ranging from it causing a range of diseases to its use violating the Nuremberg code for human experimentation. Strong lobbying resulted in Hastings councillors removing fluoride from the water supply in 1990, although it was restored after a referendum. Napier doesn’t fluoridate its water because it lacks a central point of supply. It would appear the antis’ rantings had also had an impact on the minds of Wairoa councillors, as they voted to reject fluoridation of the town’s water supply last year. The decision caused anguish for Hawke’s Bay District Health Board member and Napier dentist David Marshall who, at a meeting this week, cited the example of a two-year-old boy admitted to hospital with acute facial inflammation and abscessed teeth. After three days on intravenous antibiotics the boy had his rotten front teeth removed and will now have to smile, talk and eat without his four top front teeth. That is the reality that is under the nose of those who quote such bizarre grounds as the Nuremberg code for human experimentation in a bid to influence gullible councillors. But now the health authorities have a new ally – the government. Since the last vote on the issue in Wairoa, the State has changed its tack and is now willing to pay the full cost of installing fluoridation equipment in small towns. In the past the Government paid a 50 percent subsidy toward the capital cost, with local councils paying the rest of the bill.  

Fluoride is not a magic bullet, as healthy teeth also require brushing and a good diet. But fluoride can reduce tooth decay rates by 30 percent.

In Wairoa an initial decision to treat the Wairoa-Frasertown water supply was made, but reversed by a narrow margin in February last year after opponents raised a 700-signature petition.

However, with Wairoa five-year-olds having more than three times the national average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth, it is to be hoped the additional central government subsidy will help to give councillors a bit more courage to reconsider the issue, stand up to the anti-fluoridation lobby group and do what is right for the children of the town.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and can be sent to:

P O Box 180, Hastings
Fax (06) 873-0811
(no email attachments please)