The NZ Court of Appeal has rejected the latest legal attempt by New Zealand anti-fluoridation campaigners to hinder community water fluoridation. You can read a summary of the ruling in the Court’s press release – New Health v South Taranaki District Council. The full Court of Appeal ruling can also be downloaded.
Of course, you might find it boring – it is full of legalese. The appeals (there were three and all were rejected) themselves were about details – the definition of a medicine and the right of governments to make regulations. But readers might want to reflect on who took the legal action and who paid for it.
New Health NZ took the High Court actions and appeals. It is an incorporated society set up in 2005 by the The New Zealand Health Trust. This Trust is the lobby group for the “natural”/alternative health industry in New Zealand and is financed by that industry. So, in effect, this legal action was taken by the alternative health industry – and paid for by this industry – which is big business.
We can get some idea of the costs involved from the financial statements of the NZ Health Trust (strangely registered as a charity) and New Health NZ (statements available on the society’s register). Unfortunately, the latest statements only provide information for the 2014 and 2015 financial years – but the legal action is several years old so you can get an idea of the money flows involved.
The NZ health Trust appears to receive grants in the hundreds of thousands per year from the alternative health industry($250,000 in 2014 and $190,000 in 2015). In its turn, it distributed “grants & donations” in the hundreds of thousands (125,000 in 2014 and $130,000 in 2015).
New Health NZ received grants of around $100,000 per year ($100,00 in 2014 and $95,000 in 2015). It paid out similar amounts in “Professional and Consultancy Fees” ($95,156 in 2014 and $95,124 in 2015).
These amounts are of the order required for the legal actions taken by this group.
So here we see a money flow from the “natural”/alternative health industry, through the New Zealand Health Trust to New Health NZ to pay for legal attempts to halt community water fluoridation.
At least, this time, New Health NZ was ordered to pay costs – a sure sign that the court believes their legal actions no longer have any community value.
A sign that they should stop promoting their myth that community water fluoridation is a medicine – they should stop flogging that dead horse.