Fluoride Free New Zealand is disappointed with the decision made at Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) Annual Conference to lobby central Government to take control of fluoridation. LGNZ members should not be abdicating their responsibility to protect their residents from harm, to anyone, even central Government. Whether or not a person wants to consume fluoride chemicals should be a matter of choice and the higher up the Government ranks this decision goes, the less power people have to make this choice.
We do not believe people are best served by having a medical decision made by one person, in this case the Director of Health, or even a group of people within the Ministry. There is no monitoring of dose, no monitoring of side effects and people are forced to have it whether they want it or not. This is unethical and bad medical practice.
Currently local councils make the decision which gives locals much more access to the decision makers. It appears there has not been much call from the community to add these chemicals as two thirds of the local councils in New Zealand do not do it. Most never started, despite the fact that the Ministry of health claim it is cost effective for townships with 1000 people or more, and every district except the Chatham Islands has at least one such town. Some have stopped. Since 1985 fluoridation has stopped in Timaru, Gore, Bluff, Tauranga, Matamata, Kaitaia, Ashburton, Taumarunui, New Plymouth, Waipukurau and Hamilton (Hamilton have now restarted).
However, it is not surprising that Councillors no longer want to deal with this issue as they are becoming increasingly aware of the the potentially harmful effects from water fluoridation. Many of these councillors have reviewed damning evidence of fluoridation first hand, in presentations from Doctors and Dentists associated with Fluoride Free NZ, and have chosen to end fluoridation for their regions.
Following the 2013 decision to end fluoridation, Hamilton City Council gave the public six main reasons why the Councillors voted to stop adding fluoride in the water supply. The sixth reason was particularly revealing, “Statistical evidence that fluoridation potentially causes harm”. After political interference from the DHB and MOH the Council buckled and moved to hold a non-binding referendum, thereby giving the power to a minority of the public, most of whom do not even realise that fluoride’s claimed benefit is from surface contact to the tooth, not from swallowing, to take away their neighbour’s right to choose. This is despite the Hamilton City Council Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman previously declaring that “The tribunal process showed me that a referendum would not have worked on the basis of the volume of information before us. How could you simplify the issue with a yes or a no answer and 100 words explanation on both sides of the debate?”
If the MOH respected the rights of the individual fluoridation would not be acceptable. If the MOH allowed for an adequate margin of safety fluoridation would not be possible. If the MOH reviewed fluoridation’s lack of effectiveness fluoridation would not be tenable.
There is also the matter of legality and who is liable for the harmful impacts of water fluoridation. It is likely the reason that the Government does not want responsibility for fluoridation and is pushing for Council’s to maintain control: so the Government will not be liable for damages. In Canada right now the Local Council of Region of Peel, Canada, is reviewing a legal opinion that would hold the individual councillors liable.