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Wairoa Campaign Information
In October 2002 the Wairoa District Council voted on its community’s behalf to fluoridate the town’s water supply. 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, 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.
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