Tag Archives: Rotorua

Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters


Karen Williams Seel, a member of the county board of commissioners in Pinellas County, Fla.

A recent US blog article made some very pertinent points about the role of elected officials, such a local body councillors, on important social health issues like fluoridation.  These officials have a responsibilty to avoid pressure from misinfomred activists and must instead  listen to their constituents.

Karen Williams Seel, who wrote the article Fluoridation: Elected officials have a critical duty is a member of the county board of commissioners in Pinellas County, Fla., USA. Three years ago, the board voted 4-3 to stop fluoridating its water supply but reversed that decision in 2012 after voters defeated two incumbent commissioners who had voted against fluoridation. In both instances, Seel voted in favor of fluoridation.

She wrote:

“As Americans increasingly seek health information online, elected officials and other policymakers need to recognize that anti-fluoride activists have created a web-based panoply of false fears. For many fluoride critics, these online messages are the source of their concerns. This spring, for instance, a New York resident wrote a letter to his local newspaper, saying he “was surfing the Web and came across information on water fluoridation and the dangers that lie within this practice.”


“Public officials have a responsibility to listen to their constituents. We also have a duty to not allow false fear to drive public health decisions. We should direct our constituents to reputable websites like these sites. We shouldn’t let “guess what I read on the internet” be the reason that we abandon a proven, safe practice like water fluoridation.”

Rotorua District Councillors should take Seel’s points on board as they confront their own decisions about Rotorua’s fluoridation and how to consult citizens on it (see Council votes for referendum on fluoridation).

They should also beware of the”Tribunal” trap the Hamilton City Council fell into which effectively led to them being captured by politically and ideologically motivated anti-fluoridation activists, ignoring the information from scientific and health professionals, and ignoring the views of voters. A mistake which eventually led to pressure for another referendum and a reversal of the council’s faulty decision.

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Making life from the primordial soup

Professor Warren Tate

This looks like a great lecture coming up next week. At least for residents of Rotorua, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

It’s the 2011 Rutherford Lecture:

How to Make Life from the Primordial Soup. Why RNA is the key ingredient to human life.

And the speaker is 2010 Rutherford Medallist Professor Warren Tate.

The details of venues and times are:


Time/Date: 7.30pm/ Tuesday 13 September
Location: Concert Chamber, Rotorua Convention Centre, 1170 Fenton Street, Rotorua

Register for How to Make Life from the Primordial Soup - Rotorua in Rotorua, New Zealand  on Eventbrite


Time/Date: 7.30pm/ Wednesday 14 September
Location: Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boys High School, Featherston Street, Palmerston North

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Time/Date: 6.30pm/ Thursday 15 September
Location: C1 Central Lecture Theatre, Arts Road, University of Canterbury.

Park in the Clyde Road car Park, off Arts Road, which is off Clyde Road.  Once parked, follow Arts Road to the centre of the campus – the central Lecture Block is at the corner of Arts Road and Forestry Road.


Register for How to Make Life from the Primordial Soup - Christchurch in Christchurch, New Zealand  on Eventbrite

I got a reminder from the Royal Society today so it looks like there are still seats.

For further information go to 2011 Rutherford Lecture- How to Make Life from the Primordial Soup.

Here’s a teaser from the advertising:

One of the biggest questions in life is how did we get here? How did rock and steam become our world, full of life and diversity?

The science community thought they had the answer with the achievement of the Human Genome Project just after the turn of the new millennium, however ten years on it seems that it may not be DNA which is the star but its sibling RNA.

In this lecture, 2010 Rutherford Medallist Professor Warren Tate will speculate on RNA’s role 3‐4 billion years ago in the origin of protein synthesis and the genetic code, and how understanding the history of this fascinating molecule might lead us into the future with the development of therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease, HIV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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