Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday compared anti-fluoride
campaigners to people who believe they have been abducted by
Mr Cull made the comments as the council considered a staff
report at yesterday's annual plan budget meeting, which
outlined three options for offering non-fluoridated drinking
The council opted to encourage ''point-of-use'' filters -
which cost between $100 and $400 - for those worried about
the health effects of fluoride, rather than other options,
which involved the council spending up to $150,000 on public
However, the council's recommendation did not include the
potentially costly option of subsidising the point-of-use
When it came to subsidising the taps Mr Cull was unequivocal,
saying: ''The advice we have got so far is that the amount of
fluoride we put in our water is not harmful.
''I don't think that we are as a council obligated to provide
a service for a very small minority of people.
''If someone came along here and said they were being
abducted by aliens, would we put in protection measures so
that they weren't?''
Cr Mike Lord said he supported people worried about fluoride
paying for their own filters, saying anti-fluoride
campaigners were a ''very organised lobby group'', which did
not necessarily represent a large proportion of the
Cr Richard Thompson took issue with the motion, saying it
essentially meant the council was doing nothing.
''I cannot see the point in voting for a motion that is
effectively a motion to do nothing,'' he said.
Those in the health sector needed to to do a better job of
educating the public about the benefits of fluoridating
water, Cr Thompson said.
Both he and Cr Jinty MacTavish, while believing fluoridated
drinking water was safe, supported staff looking into the
option of installing basic taps, which filtered out fluoride.
Cr MacTavish said it would likely cost very little - possibly
a one-off cost of $400, then $50 a year - to install a public
tap at an already monitored location such as the council
toilets in Municipal Lane.
''To me it doesn't seem like a large amount to alleviate
concerns of a large number of residents.''
Cr David Benson-Pope said he disagreed the motion meant the
council was doing nothing.
''This gives a clear view of what the council's position
is,'' he said.
Council staff have been considering the issue since last
year's annual plan meetings, when councillors voted to ask
staff to investigate options for a non-fluoridated drinking
That move came after the council received 34 public
submissions on fluoride - more than any other subject - most
being against the chemical being added to drinking water for
oral health benefits.