Fluoride advice yet to be provided

The Dunedin City Council has not followed through with a plan to seek specialist advice from the Ministry of Health on continued water fluoridation, despite councillors admitting they could not decide the issue without it.

However, the council is investigating a plan to offer an alternative source of non-fluoridated water for those opposed to the practice, council water production manager Gerard McCombie has confirmed.

Councillors voted in May to reduce the amount of fluoride being added to the city's drinking water, but also to seek more direct advice from the ministry and investigate an alternative, non-fluoridated water supply.

However, council staff, responding to an Otago Daily Times official information request, have since confirmed there has been no contact with the ministry, or the National Fluoride Information Service, since then.

Asked if he knew why not, Mr McCombie said he did not, but he had been ''unclear'' whether staff or councillors were expected to follow up on the councillors' wishes.

Cr Richard Thomson said he was concerned nothing had happened since, and hoped that would change in time for next week's annual plan budget hearings, ''given we will undoubtedly have a whole tonne of information thrown at us again''.

''Clearly, if we've sought that engagement and it hasn't happened to date, then it needs to happen before the next annual plan hearings, or at those hearings, certainly.''

However, Mr McCombie confirmed council staff would soon present a report to councillors detailing possible plans for an alternative, non-fluoridated water supply, such as a public tap, for opponents of fluoridation to use if they wished.

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