Will Hamiltonians finally get a voice on fluoridation?

Well, I am not surprised this has happened but am surprised it’s happened so quickly.

Disaffection with the Hamilton City Council decision to stop fluoridation has resulted in an attempt by at least one councillor to get the decision reversed and submitted to a referendum. The Waikato Times is reporting:

The notice of motion from Mr Wilson being circulated today among city councillors today would force the council to debate when it meets in three weeks whether it should hold a referendum.

Mr Wilson said the controversial decision had been hijacked by the anti-fluoride lobby and was not what the majority of Hamiltonians wanted.

“The anti-fluoride position are mostly well-meaning individuals that have misinterpreted the science. And then there’s a group of nutters who are convinced this is mass-medication. There is considerable good science that shows fluoridation is a good base for public health. I believe the majority of people in Hamilton want fluoridation, and they should have the final say.”

Seems to me this would be the best outcome. Hamiltonians have shown in the previous referendum and recent polls they support fluoridation and there has been a lot of criticism of the Council’s recent decision.

Mind you, the anti-fluoridationists are not happy:

the co-ordinator of Fluoride Free Hamilton, Pat McNair, said a referendum was not necessary.

“A tribunal is a robust process where reasoned evidence from both sides can be given. A referendum is just peoples’ opinion in the street.

“The others [Councillors who voted against water Fluoridation] in their summary gave very good reasons why a referendum would not work.”

Ms McNair said she would only accept a referendum if lobbies from both sides of the argument had equal amount of money to campaign with, as education costs “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Ms McNair really seems to not like a democratic and full discussion. She preferred a almost behind-doors tribunal dominated by 90% anti-fluoridation submission when the city itself had voted 70% support for fluoridation. The real problem is not money to campaign with – but the presence of activist groups to do the campaigning. She had everything her own way with the tribunal, no wonder she doesn’t want a referendum and the associated public discussion

A referendum will give opportunities for supporters of fluoridation to organise and get their case across. Hopefully they will do so. If not they will only have themselves to blame.

See  Hamilton City Council | Referendum On Fluoride |… | Stuff.co.nz.

See also: Fluoridation

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9 responses to “Will Hamiltonians finally get a voice on fluoridation?

  1. Just watching Backbenchers on MySky on this issue.

    Seems like you have a lot of inbreds in Hamiltron

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  3. Also on Backbenchers, most of the audience were pro-F
    Of the MPs, the Nat MP made claims about ‘settled science’ and Nature. Labour’s Sue Moroney thought that the science had moved on and was not quite so settled.

    Just reporting it as I saw it. The public they interviewed on the street looked like some of them were missing a few genes though

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  4. Andy. I think you must be looking at old programme. The issue has been widely reported here, including special programmes like Back Bencher and Campbell Live.

    I am heartened by the general response and the relative absence of anti-science comments in those programmes. This does sort of support a common view that the Hamilton City Council, or at least the 7 who voted, were steam rolled by a pseudoscientific activist group.

    Currently I am getting feedback from local councillors I wrote to – 1 hostile, 1 neutral and the others so far seem to support voting for a referendum. I get the impression some councillors see this as an opportunity to correct a mistake.

    Mind you, they are going to look really bad if they don’t allow a referendums after all this.

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  5. Ken, Sue Moroney seemed anti on Back benchers. Thisis what she says on Twitter

    yes, it’s Labour policy to hold and independent review of fluoridation, with a view to establishing a national policy.

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  6. I saw that Andy and think I might check it out with her. The Greens have a similar policy so it may well happen under a new government.

    Although I don’t see any scientific need for this and think we have to be very careful of the type of review to avoid the mistakes made by the Hamilton City Council it may well provide an opportunity to put at least a temporary end to the current anti-science campaign against fluoridation. It’s very determined, very emotional, and very targeted. The aim is to pick individual councils off one by one.

    But the Hamilton decision seems to have woken people up so it has been quite a positive result in the end.

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  7. I was at Backbenches as well, and can back up Andy on his 10.12am post.

    By the way. A message for anti-flouro campaigners. Unless you want to create opposition to your cause – DON’T SCREAM at pro-flourodation speakers. You’ll just come across as fanatics and piss off a lot of people.

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  8. My message to the anti-fluoridation people is that they should just concentrate on what is for them the real issue – freedom of choice for the individual vs a social approach to oral health.

    It’s a characteristic of confirmation bias to “Gish gallop” – throw in everything including the kitchen sink because you think it supports your argument.. So they claim a huge list of illness attributed to F, huge numbers of studies claimed to support their case (usually don’t) and make claim after claim each wilder than the first because they know nobody can check them all out.

    I think in the end the people as a whole can make up their own mind and tend to be turned off by such overblown arguments.

    The activists could possibly win their argument at a referendum if they concentrated on their real issue – actually their strongest argument – and stopped this whole hyperbole. The people might then see them as reasonable people and their arguments as rational.

    I think that is the real value of a referendum – the common sense of the ordinary person. I would happily accept such a democratic decision. But these activists deserve to lose because of the hysterical use of anti-science arguments and outright lies.

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