Defeat in the forum of public opinion was never going to end the matter for the noisy minority who oppose the fluoridation of drinking water.
There was always the hope of legal salvation through a challenge to the power of local bodies to impose fluoridation.
Singled out was the right of the South Taranaki District Council to put fluoride into water supplies at Patea and Waverley. Happily, a judgment delivered this week by Justice Rodney Hansen has stopped them in their tracks.
The anti-fluoridation group New Health put forward all sorts of arguments. The council had no legal power to fluoridate, and if there was, it had breached people's right to refuse medical treatment under the Bill of Rights Act. Justice Hansen rejected all this, citing the 2002 Local Government Act and finding fluoridation was not a medical treatment because it did not interfere directly with an individual's body or state of mind.
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It was no different to the chlorination of water.
In a nod to overwhelming scientific opinion, he also said the council took account of relevant considerations in its decision.
There was nothing new in much of this. The council's implied power had been the subject of a failed Privy Council challenge 50 years ago. Yet over the past few years councillors in several areas have bowed to those opposed to fluoridation.
This judgment, allied to the results of polls held in conjunction with last year's local-body elections, should surely bring such folly to an end.