A decision made in January by the Whakatane District Council to stop adding fluoride to the Whakatane and Ohope water supplies has now been revoked.
The district council adopted a notice of motion to revoke the decision during a special meeting of the Policy Committee on Thursday.
Fluoride will once again be added to the Whakatane and Ohope water supplies following a vote during a special meeting of the Whakatane District Council Policy Committee on Thursday. Photo: File.
Councillors voted 6:4 in favour of adding fluoride to the Whakatane and Ohope water supplies, with the practice set to resume within a matter of days.
Elected members also voted in favour of investigating whether it is feasible to fluoridate the water supplies of other communities that supported the practice as part of a referendum held in 2013.
Voting in favour of both proposals were deputy mayor Judy Turner and councillors Russell Orr, Andrew Iles, Julie Jukes, John Pullar and Gerard van Beek.
Those who voted against the proposals were mayor Tony Bonne and councillors Scott Jarrett, Dave Sheaff and Alison Silcock.
Councillor George Johnston did not attend the meeting.
As with the January debate, councillors expressed strong views for and against fluoridation during the special meeting.
Those in favour cited New Zealand and international health authorities strong support for fluoridation as an effective way of delivering positive dental health outcomes.
They also stated the High Court had reaffirmed territorial authorities’ ability to fluoridate water supplies, provided that the level of concentration complied with water quality standards.
While those against argued that the 2013 referendum was ‘non-binding’ and other factors could be taken into account.
These factors included that scientific information on the subject supported views both for and against fluoridation, and that in the absence of a scientific consensus, the views of anti-fluoride campaigners that fluoride was neither effective nor safe should be given weight.
Those against also stated that if the fluoridation of water supplies was appropriate, that decision should be made by the Ministry of Health and mandated by Government.
Results of the 2013 referendum showed 65.8 per cent of Whakatane residents and 70.5 per cent of Ohope residents supported fluoridation.
Earlier on Thursday Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s chief executive Helen Manson expressed her disappointment with the district council’s January decision to discontinue water fluoridation.