New Zealand / Regional

Hamilton to restart fluoridation

21:56 pm on 27 March 2014

Hamilton city councillors have voted 9 to 1 to resume fluoridating the city's water supply. Treating the water was stopped in June last year, but a referendum was overwhelmingly in favour of its return.

Photo: RNZ

The council was due to vote on the matter last year, but that was delayed while it waited for a High Court decision on a challenge to councils' legal right to put fluoride in the water supply. The challenge in New Plymouth was thrown out.

Thursday's decision comes after 40,000 people gave their views through the referendum, submissions and public forums, with the majority wanting the water treated.

Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker, who supports fluoridation, says the council has listened to that majority and made the right decision.

However, she says other councils are going through the same process and is urging the Government to step in.

"The issue is not going to go away. It is an issue that is debated a lot in the community and the one way to resolve it is for the Government to make the decision whether New Zealand's water is fluoridated or not fluoridated. It is a Government decision and it would save a lot of angst and processes we've all had to go through."

The Fluoride Action Network, which is against fluoridation, says it is disappointed with the decision. Spokesperson Mary Byrne says people are uneducated about the dangers and the councillors haven't done their job.

"What they should've been doing is they should have been educating the people in Hamilton about what the dangers of fluoridation are."

The council will resume fluoridation within six to eight weeks.

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