Unfluoridated water may be option to public

By Simon Hendery

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Councillor Rod Heaps voted against continuing fluoridation. Photo / Duncan Brown
Councillor Rod Heaps voted against continuing fluoridation. Photo / Duncan Brown

Hastings and Havelock North residents opposed to fluoride in their water could be given access to a public source of unfluoridated water next year if they can convince the district council it would be money well spent.

Hastings District Councillors yesterday voted to keep fluoride in the district's urban water supply, effectively rubber-stamping a decision made by voters through October's binding referendum on the issue.

But yesterday's council vote on the matter was not without controversy. Two of 14 councillors voted against the decision, a move that outraged the deputy mayor.

In October's poll, 63 per cent of voters were in favour of retaining fluoride in the district's water.

Councillors Rod Heaps and Henare O'Keeffe voted against the resolution that the council "acknowledge the wishes of the community as evidenced by the result of the poll" and continue fluoridation.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers said it was "extraordinary" that the two councillors were opposing the move given the council had agreed to be bound by the result of the referendum.

A staff report prepared for the meeting said since the referendum, people opposed to fluoridation had asked the council if it could provide a public source of unfluoridated water.

Council staff had carried out "some preliminary work" and identified that there were two sites in Hastings and one in Havelock North where this could be "practically achieved".

"There will be some financial and technical implications were the council to proceed down this path," the report said.

Further work on the cost and technical issues would be done in time for the matter to be considered by councillors during next year's annual plan budgeting process.

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- Hawkes Bay Today

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