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Minister slams council for ending fluoridation

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Peter Dunne
Peter Dunne

Wellington, June 2 NZPA - Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has severely criticised the Far North District Council for deciding to end water fluoridation.

It was "nothing short of disgraceful and a total failure of civic leadership" to end fluoridation in a region where the children had the worst oral health in the country, he said today.

"Coming off the back of a two-year trial that had shown positive results, the decision is grossly irresponsible," Mr Dunne said.

"Frankly, this is a three-fold failure of leadership from the council."

Mr Dunne said it had failed in its duty to protect and promote the wellbeing of its communities.

"Water fluoridation protects the dental health of the most vulnerable members of the community -- the children and those most disadvantaged."

Secondly, the decision was "a failure of nerve".

"An earlier council resolution had agreed to establish a fluoridation pilot in Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

"Bizarrely, the council agreed to stop fluoridation when the pilot ceased, even though it showed positive results... bowing to pressure from misguided anti-fluoridation activists will have a significant impact on the most vulnerable populations," he said.

And lastly it was a failure of process.

"The council has allowed itself to be bound by a referendum in which only 16 percent of the community's population took part. Given the consequences of that, it is simply ridiculous."

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