Kapiti Independent report by Alan Tristram
The Kāpiti Coast District Council has put fluoridation firmly back on the agenda after many years of fluoride treatment of the water supply in Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati. It unanimously agreed yesterday to consult the public rather than use a referendum on the issue.
But Mayor Ross Church has also criticised the Government for failing to provide guidance ‘on what is clearly a health issue.’
At its first 2014 meeting yesterday, the Council decided ‘to consult with the community via the 2014/15 Annual Plan process about continuing to add fluoride to the water supplies of Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati.’
The Mayor says that while fluoridation will be included as part of the 2014/15 Annual Plan consultation, it will be highlighted as a specific issue.
“We will be holding an expanded hearings process so that all parties have adequate time and opportunity to present their information. As other Councils around the country can attest to, fluoridation of water supplies is a highly contentious issue that everyone has a view on. I hope people will participate in the debate.”
Fluoride is currently added to the public water supplies of Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati but not Ōtaki or Paekākāriki.
The community was consulted on the issue in 2010. Back then Council voted to reduce the level from 1.0mg/L to 0.7mg/L, the minimum recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Last year, as part of 2013/14 Annual Plan discussions, Council received further submissions requesting an end to fluoridation of local supplies.
In June it resolved to again take the matter to the community. Today’s meeting confirmed the method of consultation.
In early discussions on the issue, the previous council expressed frustration that local government is being left to make decisions about fluoridation and resolved to seek the support of Local Government New Zealand in making the issue the responsibility of health authorities.
Those sentiments were echoed yesterday by some new Councillors and the Mayor himself.
Mayor Church said:”It’s so frustrating that we get no guidance from central government on what is clearly a health issue.
“This leaves local authorities to deal with it in a fragmented and ad hoc way with different outcomes for different communities. This is something we will be pursuing for sure.”