The Government has announced an amendment to the currently pending Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill that is certain to bring fluoridation to Hawke’s Bay’s municipally delivered drinking water.

Currently none of our local councils are fluoridating our water, with Hastings having currently devoted its delivery system to chlorine, with fluoridation planned to resume after infrastructure upgrade.

The Bill had been drafted to transfer authority for this decision from local councils to District Health Boards – i.e., from one politically sensitive body to another, leaving outcomes uncertain.

However this week Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced  an amendment to shift that authority instead to the Director-General of Health, currently the esteemed Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Said Dr Verrall: “The Bill was introduced into the House in 2016. Given that fluoridating our drinking water is widely recognised as the single-most important initiative to improve oral health, I expect this Bill to pass this year.

“Local Councils are responsible for the capital and operational costs of fluoridation. There will be funding available to support local councils with fluoridation related infrastructure work.” 

There is no doubt what the Government wants to see done. From Dr Verrall’s statement:

“Around 6,500 children under the age of nine were admitted to hospital for tooth decay and associated infections in 2019.

“The Fluoridation Bill as a whole recognises water fluoridation is a health-related issue. Right now only around 2.3 million New Zealanders have access to fluoridated drinking water.

“Community water fluoridation is a proven public health measure that will make a big difference to children’s wellbeing.

“The current level of fluoride found naturally in our water supplies is not enough to prevent tooth decay.

“’Topping up’ fluoride levels allows the well-established health benefits to reach all New Zealanders, especially our children, Māori and Pacific populations and people in our poorer communities.

So, the decision will soon be in Dr Bloomfield’s hands. The nation has trusted him on Covid … let’s see how his personal ‘brand equity’ rubs off on fluoridation!

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7 Comments

  1. I am not surprised that it will now rest with one person to decide for the whole country and am absolutely disgusted about it. Instead of dealing with the cause of tooth decay (sugar and not brushing properly) we all have to ingest an industrial poison again. Many countries have already long ago got rid of fluoridation, so why are we taking this retrograde step?

  2. This is an idiotic move to fluoridate our drinking water where the evidence is at best very poor supporting fluoridation and treating the entire population with chemical that hasn’t gone through FDA approval is utterly irresponsible. The literature on the effects of fluoridation clearly states the that children consuming fluoride have a IQ reduction of 7 IQ points. How is this a benefit to our children or is it better described as a dumbing down of society. Fluoride is a developmental neurotoxin that reduces the IQ of children. It’s clearly time that our politicians red a book by Prof Paul Connett PhD, James Beck, MD PhD and H.S. Micklem, DPhil “The Case Against Fluoride”. There is no practical benefit to fluoridate our water supply. Fluoridated water that our children consume will not treat the teeth as fluoridation requires direct contact with the teeth and over a period of time. Also Research published in the British Medical Journal 2015, found that hypothyroidism in women increased by 30% when water containing natural fluoride at 0.3ppm and by 60% when water was fluoridated at 0.7ppm.
    Fluoride applied in NZ is from an industrial waste byproduct in the form of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid. Its not from an approved pharmacy grade Sodium Fluoride as is used in toothpaste.
    Why is our government contentiously trying to poison us.

    1. The evidence linking a lowering child IQ with levels of fluoridation planned for our drinking water is by no means “clear” . In fact it does not exist. A collection of poor studies from China on populations exposed to much higher levels of fluoride than anyone is suggesting is not evidence.

      Neither was there a BMJ study published in 2015 linking female hypothyroidism to low levels of fluoride. There WAS a 2015 study in the JECH which made this link but the study was widely criticised…including in the BMJ.

  3. What is utterly inexcusable is that when you consult the official children’s statistics of the MOH and actually read through the : oral_health_data_from_the_community_oral_health_service
    the supposed 40% improvement in dental health for children is nowhere to be found unless you cherry pick the figures. But, as clearly stated, in the past few years the difference in dental caries & caries free between flouridated and non flouridated areas, averaged over the entire country has been in the zone of 1 % or less (which is statistically insignificant!!). So we are being fed a big lie about the benefits of community water flouridation and the dogma continues, as it has, from 1956 Hastings/Napier trials. Community water flouridation has never actually been scientifically or statistically proven beyond a shadow of doubt to be either safe or effective at reducing dental caries. How can our government responsibly condone adding this neurotoxin to our drinking water when they have no airtight proof that it works or is safe?

  4. PS: Forgot to comment about Dr Verall’s statement: “Around 6,500 children under the age of nine were admitted to hospital for tooth decay and associated infections in 2019. –Dr Verall
    Obvious example of a dogmatic statement!! So how many were from flouridated as opposed to non-flouridated districts??? It seems flouridating the water is a failure if Dr Verall’s statement is correct.

  5. The 6500 children who were admitted to hospital with serious tooth decay more than likely never drink water. Some children have Coco cola or other sugary drinks daily and this is the problem.
    Government must know this if they’ve done thorough research into tooth decay in children.
    6500 children is an absolute minority so why does everyone have to ingest poison. These children won’t drink it!
    This reason is bull…t

  6. We had fluoride tablets as kids in Waipukurau. Why not provide the group most likely to benefit from fluoride with free access to tablets. A cheap and effective way of delivering the medication to the target market.

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