Whakatane Campaign


Elected Councillors 2019

Judy Turner – Mayor Led move to reverse the 2016 vote to stop fluoridation.Very pro-fluoridation.
Andrew Iles – Deputy Mayor Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where he stands
Julie Jukes Has always opposed fluoridation.
Alison Silcock Voted to stop fluoridation in 2016.
Nandor Tanczos Was not in council in 2016. Have discussed on FB where he appeared to be in favour of fluoridation but was reasonable
Gerard Van Beek In 2016 voted to stop fluoridation and then changed his mind and voted with Judy Turner to restart fluoridation.
Wilson James Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where he stands.
Lesley Immink Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where she stands
John Pullar Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where he stands
Victor.Luca Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where he stands
Gavin Dennis Wasn’t on council in 2016. Do not know where he stands




Whakatane Votes to Restart Fluoridation on 11 January 2016

BOP Times Editorial: Fluoridation common sense 13th February 2016

Whakatane Beacon Council flip-flops on fluoride 12th February 2016 (see below)

newshub Whakatane u-turns on fluoride 12th February 2016

NZ Herald Whakatane fluoride flip flop 11th February 2016

Radio NZ Whakatane flip-flops on fluoride 11th February 2016


Whakatane Voted to Stop Fluoridation on 28 Januay 2016


Open Letter by Whakatane Councillor Russell Orr 7th February 2016 (Note Clr Orr states he is opposed to fluoridation but disagree based on his actions.)

Science Media Centre 1st February 2016 Whakatane fluoride decision fuels Govt re-think

FIND Press Release 1st February 2016 Dentist group supports Council’s Fluoride decision

NewstalkZB 1st February 2016 Govt looking at legislative changes around fluoridation

TV3 31st January 2016 No more fluoride in Whakatane water

Radio New Zealand 31st January 2016 Government considers fluoridation law change

Radio New Zealand 31st January 2016 Whakatane fluoride decision criticised

Radio New Zealand 30th January 2016 Whakatane mayor stands by fluoride decision

MSN 30th January 2016  Whakatane Council votes to scrap fluoridation

Radio New Zealand 28th January 2016 Whakatane Council votes to scrap fluoridation

NZ Herald 28th January 2016 Council votes to stop fluoridation

Fluoride Free NZ Press Release 28th January 2016 Whakatane STOPS Water Fluoridation: Money to Be Spent on Oral Health Care Programme

Bay of Plenty Times 17th April 2013 Latest statistics boost anti-fluoride case

Sunlive 23rd May 2013 Concern over fluoride levels


SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE! Today 28th January 2016, after 44 years of water fluoridation, Whakatane District Council has voted to end the out-dated practice!!!

Watch Jon Burness make the announcement directly after the Whakatane District Council meeting.


Bay of Plenty Dental Health Statistics 2003 – 2013

See the Bay of Plenty Dental Health Statistics presented to Whakatane District Council

Average Number of fillings in 5 year olds

Percent of Year 8 children with no dental decay

Number of 5 year olds with no dental decay

Average number of fillings in Year 8 children


Council flip-flops on fluoride

The Whakatane Beacon

Posted February 12th, 2016

by Staff

Gerard van Beek, councillor

FLUORIDE is back in Whakatane’s water supply.

Whakatane District Council has U-turned, just two weeks after controversially voting to remove fluoride from the water supply of Whakatane and Ohope residents.

Yesterday, in a packed council chambers, with at least 50 people in attendance, councillors voted six-to-four to reinstate fluoridation.

Integral in the decision was councillor Gerard van Beek who voted to remove fluoridation on January 28 – then voted to retain it yesterday.

He said he originally voted in favour of removing fluoride to get the attention of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board although he was unsure of the effectiveness of that strategy.

“Last time it was [about] trying to send a message to the DHB that they have to do something to better their services to the rural community.

“If I had voted against it today, would that have changed anything”, he said.

He said his opinion was that if the DHB were to provide a comprehensive oral hygiene programme to children, there would be fewer dental health issues.

“My concern is with the DHB, they need to deliver dental services better. Healthy teeth don’t need fluoride, mouths with good hygiene don’t need fluoride because there’s no dental decay. Even if there is dental decay, I’m not sure that fluoride fixes it,” he said.

He said in the absence of any significant indications that fluoride was dangerous, it was his opinion that adding it would be “of no concern”.

“At the end of the day it does no harm, potentially,” he said.

Also supporting deputy mayor Judy Turner in her motion, and voting fluoride back in, were councillors Julie Jukes, John Pullar, Andrew Iles and Russell Orr.

Mayor Tony Bonne, who had promised not to use his casting vote this time, voted to remove fluoride as did councillors Scott Jarrett, Alison Silcock and Dave Sheaff.

Councillor George Johnston, the fifth supporter of removing fluoride at the January meeting, was in hospital and could not attend.

He told the Beacon he would have again voted to stop fluoridation.

“I would have voted as I did before,” he said.

He said he doubted any new information would have come to light at the meeting for him to reconsider his position.

“I’ve been reading quite a bit and going through the processed data. At this stage I have no reason to change my decision,” he said.

Mr Bonne advised councillors they could vote by conscience over the notice of motion brought forward by Mrs Turner.

In her opening arguments Ms Turner said the council had “dishonoured” their responsibility to ratepayers by not abiding by the results of the 2013 referendum.

“Why hold a referendum of any kind if we have no intention of listening,” she said.

“Here we are in an election year with a chance to prove we do listen and we dropped the ball.”

She said she had wanted council to make the 2013 referendum binding but was voted down.

“I assumed from that point on, as someone who would love to see fluoride in every water supply managed by council, that it was possible I would not get my way in every community,” she said.

Mr Puller said the desires of the electorate had to be the council’s primary responsibility.

“We live in a democratic country and majority votes will take the day,” he said.

Mr Orr said he did not agree with fluoridation but sometimes council’s obligations must overrule personal belief. “I’m philosophically against the principle of medicating public water supplies … over the years that philosophy has been rubbed a little bit around the edges because I’ve seen quite a few things that don’t fit with my philosophy, that I understand where we need to sometimes step in and help people who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to look after themselves. That is what we do as a council,” he said.

Mr Bonne said council had taken due diligence in reaching their decision to remove fluoride from the water supply.

“The process we have gone through is not just a knee-jerk process, it started in 2010. It has taken to 2016 to come to this decision,”

He said that it was the opinion of the council’s lawyer that the Janurary 28 decision to stop fluoridation was legitimate.

Mr Jarrett said in his opinion the issue of fluoride in the water supply went against the principles of free choice.

“By voting not to fluoridate water, I haven’t taken anything away from people who wish to use fluoride,” he said.

He said that testimony from Whakatane dentist John Twaddle pointed out that despite water being fluoridated since 1972, there was a chronic problem right in the heart of fluoridated Whakatane, and he could not ignore that.

“The crux of this is that society has changed to such an extent that fluoride is now, in today’s world, not relevant and not working,” he said.

Mrs Jukes said she supported fluoridation because it was the will of the voters who took part in the referendum.

“I am of the opinion that we asked the public their opinion on this specific issue so it is democratic of us to actually listen to the community,” she said.

Mrs Silcock said the council decided to have a non-binding referendum because it was to be used as a guideline for their decisions, not a dictate.

“I think there has been enough information to say that ingested fluoride is a very inefficient way of delivering fluoride to the teeth,” she said.

Mr Sheaff said he voted against fluoride at the previous meeting and he had not changed his mind. He said that he thought the number of people who voted in the 2013 referendum was too low for council to pin their votes on.

“Morally I cannot bring myself to put some kind of acid into the water; it just doesn’t make sense. We have plenty of other ways of getting fluoride for our teeth,” he said.

Mr Iles said council should be aware of the desires of the whole district. “We may be elected by our ward but we are here to represent the whole district,” he said.

He said Mr Twaddle pointed out that he could tell by looking into children’s mouths if they came from a community that did not fluoridate their water supply.

How they voted


  • Judy Turner
  • Julie Jukes
  • John Pullar
  • Andrew Iles
  • Russell Orr
  • Gerard Van Beek



  • Tony Bonne
  • Scott Jarrett
  • Alison Silcock
  • Dave Sheaff


Absent: George Johnston

SOURCE URL: http://whakatanebeacon.co.nz/2016/02/council-flip-flops-on-fluoride/


Whakatane Fluoridation Information


What was the outcome of the 2015 Long Term Plan on the fluoridation issue?

Whakatane held a referendum in 2013. Fluoridation to continue.


What parts of Whakatane are fluoridated?

Whakatāne and Ōhope water supply areas.


What fluoride chemicals are used to fluoridate Whakatane’s water supply?

IXOM (formerly Orica) supplies Hydrofluorosilicic Acid H2SiF6 to Council to fluoridate.


What level is Whakatane fluoridated at?

Between 0.55g/m3 and 0.65g/m3.


Where is the waste water for Whakatane discharged?

600m in to the sea via an outfall pipe.


Is there a Resource consent for the discharge of fluoridation chemicals into the sea?



Can you provide the section of the consent that permits?

No. Fluoride is not specifically mentioned in the resource consent.


Is there a Resource Consent held by Whakatane District Council to add Hydrofluorosilicic Acid to the Whakatane’s water supplies?



How much per annum is spent on Hydrofluorosilicic acid?

Approximately $750. 


How much per annum is spent on implementing water fluoridation?

Approximately $5,500.


How much per annum is spent on testing the levels of water fluoridation?

Approximately $750. 


How much does it cost per Tonne of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid?

Approximately $460. 


How frequent is the levels of fluoride in the water tested?



Who performs the testing?

Hills Laboratory.


When did fluoridation begin in Whakatane and has there been any public consultation since beginning?

Fluoridation started in 1969. A referendum was held in 2013.



Candidates 2013

Candidate Fluoridation Position statement
Christine Larsen Against I am avocating to stop the fluoridation of our water supply. The fluoride that is used is a byproduct of the manufacture of aliminium. It is a toxic substance. It is not a medicine or a nutritional substance. It is non targeted mass exposure to a chemical additive which in most countries in the world has been banned. If we wanted to add heart mediacation or cholestreol medicine to the town water supply to reduce the the risk of heart attacks or high cholestreol people would be up in arms.We would be saying but it will be dangerous for those who dont have heart problems or high cholestreol. If John Twaddle and others are so concerned for the wellbeing of childrens teeth then why not spend the time and money to go out to all the schools promoting dental health , give toothpaste and toothbrushes away to schools and preschools instead of spending so munch money on a huge advertising campaign promoting the addition of a poison to our water which we all get dosed with wether we need or want it or not. I would like to think that the pro fluoride lobby are lobbying the Govt to increase health spending on prevention and treatment. to take GST off fruit and veg and add lagre taxs on soft drinks and lollies,This is how we tackle the problem of bad dental health Not by mass medicating the whole population It is the Govts responsibility to spend money on educating parents, increasing the tax on healthly foods and drinks As a councilor i will asking for drinking fountains all over our town especially in the shopping areas and parks. I want the water to be clean and as pure as possible.
Judy Turner Supports referendum During my 6 years in Parliament with UnitedFuture,our policy which I supported was that communities should decide for themselves on this matter. Personally I am favourably disposed to flouridation, however if elected as a Whakatane/Ohope Ward Councillor, I will be responsive to the wishes of my ratepayers. HOWEVER I will want to be reassured that participation rates of ratepayers in the referenduum were significant (at least 65% of possible voters) and that the result is conclusive.


Councillor Fluoridation Position statement
Tony Bonne (Mayor)
Christine Chambers Against I do not, and never have, supported fluoridation of our water supplies. However, from memory Council has conducted two referenda on the issue in recent years and the results have not been in favour of removing fluoride from the Whakatane urban supply (the only supply in the Whakatane District that is fluoridated). However I will continue to try and persuade my fellow councillors, if I am re-elected that is, of the negative effects of fluoridation and have the issue signalled for review in the next Long Term Council Plan.
David Dowd
Andrew Iles
Scott Jarrett Against Council has called for a review of water fluoridation. I believe that 20% of people opposed adding fluoride in our last referendum taken quite some years ago. People wishing to take fluoride can easily obtain tablets. I don’t believe we have a mandate to force feed a drug to our ratepayers.
George Johnston
Pouroto Ngaropo
Russell Orr
David Sheaff Not sure I’m not sure as I don’t have all the facts about it. Generally I do not agree with any additives in my food or drink so you are on the right track, I would support more consultation on the subject.
Judy Turner Supports referendum I support this being decided by local referendum not by Council.
Gerard Van Beek Against This is a vexed question. As I understand it, there is evidence that fluoride has some beneficial effect on tooth health. There is evidence that at high levels of fluoridation has negative impacts on tooth health. On balance I believe that there is a positive benefit from the correct exposure to moderate amounts of fluoride. Because we are on a rural property we collect rain water and have no added fluoride in our water. We provided fluoridated tooth paste in our home. This was a personal choice.Your question relates to the involuntary exposure to fluoride in fluoridated public water schemes. I think that exposure to fluoride is a personal choice. On that basis it should be removed from public water schemes.However living in a democracy, majority public opinion may require water to be fluoridated. That forces the minority to exposure they don’t want. Therefore having a referendum or consultation process will not satisfy any minority group, for or against fluoridation.You will probably recognise that I believe that exposure to fluoride is beneficial and I had the personal choice to expose my family to it. If fluoride is going to be included in water supplies, consumers have to be properly informed and not to use fluoridated toothpaste.If I were to promote non-fluoridation of public water supplies, I would need to know that the community has sufficient information to make their own informed choice on fluoride exposure.


Candidate Fluoridation Position statement
Miria Black Against I read the information and must agree that evidence indicates that adding fluoride to our water is not in the best interest of our community.I was a school dental nurse in the 1960’s when fluoride was advocated and we did topical applications for our patients. I took fluoride tablets when I was pregnant and my children have had good teeth.However I have looked at the views about the possible harm fluoride can do and am not at all happy that we should be ingesting a toxic substance and most importantly that we are not given a choice about this. I would therefore support a referendum.
Terry Bourk Against I personally have never agreed with bulk fluoridation of town supply. I have, over the years, seen and heard many public debates regarding the subject and unfortunately cannot recall hearing of a local council back pedalling on the issue and removing it.I do not claim to be well read on the subject and will follow the links you sent. Like any other public debate it will require the community to make their concerns known to the incoming council regarding this subject. I have no knowledge of how strong the approach has been to the Whakatane council in the past or what their reaction has been, perhaps you could further enlighten me.
Chris Dohrman Neutral Would support a referendum.
John Glasse Against I absolutely abhor the addition of any substance in pure drinking water. Who has given local authorities the mandate to put fluoride in our water?If people want to give their children fluoride, let them take a pill.To force our kids into such a fluoridation campaign is wrong, immoral and probably illegal and I am fearful of what mind altering or so called healthy substance may be added to our water in another ten years.
Ted Hipkiss For I support the fluoridation of water supplies. Since I have been in Whakatane (1971) there have been two referenda on fluoridation both surveys supported fluoridation. Council should not disregard the opinion of the community. People have the ability to submit to the Council’s Annual Plan on such issues. I am sure if there was a significant ground swell of opinion calling for a referendum on fluoridation the Council would have to respond.
Julie Jukes (mayoral candidate) Against I am not a supporter of fluoride in the water but I do admit that I need to do more research to be fully educated on both sides of the debate. My husband is very vocal against fluoridation and is already in my ear that something needs to be done. I would be supportive of a referendum on this issue and believe the public needs to be better informed of all the associated health risks.
Arleen Makuini Against I do not support fluoridation. I would seek public opinion and supply information outlining and emphasizing the pro’s and con’s. I would seek a referendum.
Steve Napier For At present I support fluoridation. I certainly would take into account MOH advice on this but not ignore public opinion.
Sabine Poppe For Even though I am aware of certain risks associated  with water fluoridation, I do support the practice. In my opinion the general advantage of water fluoridation far outweighs the possible side-effects.
John Rabarts Against I do not support fluoridation of water supplies.
The Hon Ian Shearer Against Do you support fluoridation?  No – for three reasons.  Firstly, I do not agree with mass medication of the community.  Secondly, I have read a considerable amount of research provided to me by someone opposed to the use of fluoride and I am not convinced that fluoride in the water supply is an effective way to ensure that healthy teeth will result.  From what I have read, it would appear that the use of fluoride toothpaste (which is an individual’s choice and advocated by most dentists) would be a far more reliable means of improving dental health.  Lastly, I have checked with Whakatane District Council Staff and am advised that the average fluoride level in Whakatane/Ohope is 0.4g/m3 , while the maximum permissible level is 1.5g/m3.  This suggests that the current practice is probably having little or no effect whatsoever on dental health.If not, what definite steps would you take, if you are elected, to stop fluoridation in this area?I believe a referendum was carried out a few years ago and the result was very close.  It is one of the many issues the new Council will need to discuss and if there is majority support for another referendum, closely linked with a public education and information exercise, then I would fully support such a referendum.
Arleen Tanirau Against I favour doing what’s right for people and not being legislated by Councils. Our bodies and our decisions.