It’s not certain how Waikato district householders connected to Hamilton city’s water supply will get a say on the contentious issue of fluoridation but they will get a say.
Last month, Waikato District Council Service Delivery General Manager Tim Harty said the council would explore with the city council how district users of city water could have their voices heard on the city’s controversial move to remove fluoride from its supply.
However, it appears the city council is not going out of its way to hear the views of water users outside the city boundary.
Tamahere Forum asked the Hamilton City Council (HCC) how it felt about canvassing district voters views.
Hamilton city Electoral Officer Jude Pani responded by referring Tamahere Forum to the district council.
“I am running the elections for HCC,” she said. “It is up to the WDC what they do.”
Pani added that the district council was “looking at a consultation exercise as part of their elections and including a version of our pamphlet [on fluoridation] as a consultation exercise with the WDC electors on the Hamilton water supply.”
Harty told Tamahere Forum the district council would ensure the feedback of district residents was shared on the issue some how.
“We have 2500 Waikato district properties who receive their water supply from Hamilton and are affected by the city council’s decision to remove fluoride from their water supply.
“We want to ensure they also receive the opportunity to share their views about fluoride alongside Hamilton residents in the city’s referendum in the October local body elections,” he said.
“We’re presently seeking advice on options for how these residents could engage with the city’s fluoride referendum. We’re hoping this will be possible through the postal voting system for the elections, but if direct referendum participation isn’t an option, we’ll ensure there is another way feedback can be shared.”
Meanwhile, the Hamilton City Council has agreed the wording for the referendum on fluoride. It is:
“Hamilton City Council does not currently add fluoride to the public water supply. The purpose of this poll is to help Council to determine whether electors want fluoride in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid added to the public water supply. The result of this poll is not binding on Hamilton City Council.
Should Hamilton City public water supply be fluoridated?
I vote FOR fluoride being added to the water
I vote AGAINST fluoride being added to the water”.
Two information sheets will be enclosed with the voting papers, the content of which is to be finalised by the Electoral Officer. Each sheet will have content supplied by the Waikato District Health Board and Fluoride Free Hamilton. There will also be a public meeting arranged for each side to present their positions.
Fluoride was removed from the City’s water supply on June 21.