The Hamilton City Council has voted overwhelmingly in favour
of restarting fluoridating its water supply.
The council have just voted nine to one in favour of its
It was expected Hamilton City Council would follow a
referendum which showed residents want reinstatement, despite
half of the councillors voting fluoride out of the water last
Today's vote was deferred until the council knew the outcome
of legal action by the New Health group against South
Taranaki District Council for adding fluoride to drinking
water in Waverley and Patea.
New Health argued that adding fluoride breached people's
right under the Bill of Rights Act to refuse medical
Earlier this month, High Court judge Rodney Hansen ruled
South Taranaki had the legal power to fluoridate the water,
but yesterday, New Health filed a notice of appeal in the
Court of Appeal against the decision.
Now, Safe Water Alternative New Zealand (Swanz) has put
Hamilton City Council on notice of a judicial review if it
decides in favour of fluoridating tap water again.
The warning comes as the 13-strong council decides on the
results of the non-binding referendum, in which 66 per cent
of the 37,276 voters supported fluoridation.
Swanz co-ordinator Trevor Crosbie said the council was
obligated under the Local Government Act to consult the
public on the significant issue before making a decision.
"The point is that this is a brand-new decision and it cannot
piggyback or rely on the previous special consultative
requirements used for the old decision to cease fluoridation,
at the time of the tribunal in June 2013."
That five-day tribunal attracted 1560 submissions - 1386 in
opposition to fluoridation.
Following the tribunal, the then council voted 7-1 to stop
adding fluoride to municipal water supplies.
Five councillors removed themselves from the vote, including
Ewan Wilson, Martin Gallagher and former councillor Pippa
Mahood, who declared a conflict of interest due to their
roles as members of the Waikato District Health Board, which
is mandated by the Ministry of Health to promote
But shortly after, Mr Gallagher called for a referendum on
The Herald understands the new council is likely to favour
the referendum results, despite five of them - mayor Julie
Hardaker, deputy mayor Gordon Chesterman, and councillors
Angela O'Leary, Margaret Forsyth and Dave Macpherson -
previously voting to get rid of fluoridation.
Though councillors had been warned not to air their views
publicly, Mr Macpherson - who is away and can't vote - said
he was personally anti-fluoride but would have voted in
favour of reinstating it "because I respected the result of
the referendum - because it was clear".
He believed other councillors would vote for reinstatement
for the same reason.
Mr Wilson, who was criticised last year for not participating
in the tribunal, said he had an open mind and there was no
conflict this time because the DHB was not involved.
Hamilton began adding artificial fluoride to water supplies
in 1966 to fight tooth decay and it's thought to save more
than $1 million in dental care costs.
Anti-fluoride lobbyists claim it causes fluorosis
(discoloured teeth), led to bone cancer, lowered the IQ of
children, affected fertility and pregnancy and interfered
with the thyroid.