The Amendment to the Health Act (Fluoridation of water) Bill currently being championed through the New Zealand Parliament by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne is a stealthy attempt to deny NZ public the right to choose whether or not they want their drinking water fluoridated or natural.
On the surface of it, the Bill seeks to take away the decision making from the city councils (who are required to have public consultation) to District Health Boards (who are not, but instead are expected to enforce Ministry of Health policies and agendas).
While the spin (promoted by unobjective news media) is that it is more appropriate for a health decision to be made by health providers, this ignores the fundamental human right to choose if a person wishes to take medication or not, and the right to have safe, "wholesome" drinking water.
These human rights were enshrined in the 1956 Health Act, which considered it a basic fundamental requirement with the introduction of water fluoridation in New Zealand that communities must not be directed by government to fluoridate.
This is precisely the protective clause which Mr. Dunne, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, want to remove.
While technically the change could also allow DHBs to stop fluoridation in their area, it is blatantly obvious that the agenda is to spread fluoridation over as much of the country, which is currently only about half fluoridated, as possible.
At the first reading of the Bill in Parliament Mr. Dunne disgracefully referred to opponents of water fluoridation as "tin-foil hat wearing, pseudo-scientific alien abductees". While he makes use of Parliamentary Priveledge to show his disdain for human rights, and a large section of the New Zealand voting public, repetition of such comments outside of parliament would take intestinal fortitude beyond his means.
Coleman as well has shown disdain for citizens who oppose water fluoridation and confirmed in the public media that he expects the DHBs, whose board members are essentially chosen by him, to increase fluoridation over the entire country.
The Health Select Committee, hearing public submissions in March, generally showed similar bias in their comments and attitudes, including the chair Simon O'Connor (National) and members such as Anette King (Labour), whose condescending, derogatory and ill-informed comments are recorded in Hansard and on video on the parliamentary website.
Of the approximately 1,500 submissions, over 95% were opposed to Mr. Dunne's proposed change to the Health Act, and moreover to water fluoridation, but during oral submissions it became clear that the Health Select Committee members had not bothered to read most, if any of them, in any depth. This raises the concern that while the democratic process is being followed, the agenda has already been decided.
Interestingly, the handful of submissions from pro-fluoridation lobby groups such as the New Zealand Dental Association and related organizations also were generally uncomfortable with the Bill, as they were concerned that there might still be the opportunity for public input to DHB decision making. They appeared to favor a binding decision to be made at a central level, such as the Director- General of Health, enforcing mandatory nationwide water fluoridation.
Given the current state of knowledge on the health risk/benefit equation of water fluoridation, such a decision would be a huge mistake for our country and would indicate a huge lack of due diligence and a betrayal of public trust.
Mr. Dunne's bill has had the effect of bringing some important issues forward for New Zealanders to consider going forward, both about health and human rights and about the democratic process.
The politicians will now be calling on their advisors to explain the submissions to them, and identify the risks.
I would suggest political risks will come ahead of risks to New Zealanders' health for most of them.
Perhaps the upcoming second reading of the bill will throw up a politician who looks past the propaganda and puts New Zealanders' health ahead of political self interest.
The subject of water fluoridation is ripe for a politician with integrity who can separate the facts from the spin to stand up and show others the way forward for all New Zealanders.
I won't be holding my breath.
information on Mr. Dunne's Bill, including submissions made, video and Hansard, are available on the NZ Parliament website.
Follow this link: https://www.parliament.nz/en/get-involved/topics/all-current-topics/bill-seeks-to-extend-water-fluoridation-coverage/