Voters in the Thames water supply area of service have resoundingly defeated attempts to stop fluoridation of their water supply.
The Thames-Coromandel District Council has released the result of a referendum which had been imposed on the town because of activities of anti-fluoridation campaigners. The results show a resounding defeat for these campaigners with 73% of voters supporting retention of community water fluoridation.
This is a decisive result, made even more decisive by the high turnout in the postal vote – almost 57 %. This is an unusually high turnout for local body votes in New Zealand.
Anti-fluoride campaigners were very active during this referendum, publishing about six full-page advertorials in the local papers as well as having a strong presence on the streets. It appears this aggressive approach could have turned residents off, even encouraged them to vote.
In fact, the advertising and billboard claims of the anti-fluoride campaigners have been the subject of several complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The Authority released the first decision on these complaints today finding that anti-fluoride advertising had violated advertising ethics. There will be more decisions released by ASA in the coming days and weeks.
The council had decided this would be a binding vote so approval of the decision to continue fluoridation is just a formality.