Should our drinking water be fluoridated, and who makes the final call on that decision?

The contentious question has been asked again as Nelson health authorities called for the city's water to have fluoride added, while the Palmerston North council asked to have to chemical removed.

Peter Dunne spoke on the issue on NewstalkZB this morning, the United Future leader was cautiously in favour of fluoride.

"All the evidence that I have seen, scientific or otherwise, is that fluoridation is vastly beneficial to oral health and that's the consideration we've got to make," said Mr Dunne.

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"The issue really that we've got to consider is if the status quo is working ... there's a pretty uneven situation across the country."

Mr Dunne said a national standard for water fluoridation could be better than giving authority to local government, who were subject to petitions and referenda, which were often overruled by the Ministry of Health, wasting time and resources.

"It's just putting out one brushfire and then moving onto the next one," he said.

"On the other hand, we have to balance the fact that the public have the right to have a say in these things as well."