Whakatane u-turns on fluoride

  • 12/02/2016

Whakatane District Council has made a u-turn on its decision to scrap fluoride from the town's water supply, after a public outcry.

The council decided to keep fluoride two weeks after the initial vote to get rid of it.

At a special committee meeting yesterday, council members voted six to four in favour of resuming fluoridation.

In a 2013 referendum, the majority of residents in Whakatane (66 percent) and Ōhope (70.5 percent) supported fluoridation.

After Whakatane District Council's initial decision to scrap fluoride, Local Government New Zealand Lawrence Yule said the fluoride debate shouldn't be left in the hands of local councils.

"We have very little knowledge and understanding on the health impacts of fluoride and whether it's a good or bad thing, and yet we get drawn into all these political fights," he said.

And even though he voted to scrap Whakatane's fluoride, Mr Bonne agreed the decision shouldn't have been in his council's hands.

"Central government or the Department of Health needs to take that responsibility," said Mr Bonne.

On its website, the Ministry of Health says it strongly supports water fluoridation as a "safe, effective and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay across the whole population".