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UK Against Fluoridation

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NZ - Support for South Canterbury mayors over fluoride position

The debate over water fluoridation has sprung up again in South Canterbury.Politicians are backing calls from South Canterbury mayors to transfer responsibility for fluoridating water away from local councils.
The region's three mayors have presented a united front over the controversial issue, which was thrust back into the spotlight after the South Canterbury District Health Board's (SCDHB) community and public health committee voted to recommend a position statement supporting fluoridation to the full board.

They are calling for central government to take over responsibility for the fluoridation of community water supplies, a position that has received support from politicians.
A select committee report into improving child health in November 2013 recommended the Government should work with Local Government New Zealand to transfer responsibility for setting standards for the monitoring of fluoride additives to the Ministry of Health and DHBs.
Labour Party health spokeswoman Annette King said fluoridation was "certainly" a central government issue."It should be decided by the Ministry of Health when they set water standards." The evidence in favour of water fluoridation was "very strong", she said.

Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said ideally, the responsibility should lie with DHBs.

The health boards combined local decision-making and democracy with the expertise necessary to make the decision, he said."Local councils are not really equipped for this, they don't have the expertise."However, it was not good enough for councils to "dodge the issue" while the responsibility remained with them, Hague said.

The Green Party generally supported fluoridation, he said.

Timaru District Mayor Damon Odey believed central government needed to "front up" and take responsibility for the issue.The council's position was that it was a health issue, and should be dealt with by central government, he said."We're sick of them putting pressure on councils without the experience and understanding of the issue." According to the Ministry of Health, the current model "empowers" communities to have responsibility for decision-making about fluoridation in their local areas.

Chief legal officer Phil Knipe said the ministry worked with the Department of Internal Affairs and Local Government New Zealand to ensure that territorial local authorities (TLAs) were well-informed about community water fluoridation.The ministry also supported DHBs to provide clear information to TLAs and the public about water fluoridation, he said. "The ministry funds the National Fluoridation Information Service to continuously review the international scientific literature around water fluoridation and provide evidence-based information to DHBs, TLAs, the ministry and the public."The ministry also provides evidence-based educational resources on fluoridation to the public through the Fluoride Facts website and other channels."


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