Mike Hosking: Fluoride the latest example of local government weakness

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Mar 2021, 4:19PM
Whangārei's Mayor Sheryl Mai. (Photo / NZME)
Whangārei's Mayor Sheryl Mai. (Photo / NZME)

Mike Hosking: Fluoride the latest example of local government weakness

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Mar 2021, 4:19PM

Another example for you this morning on the weaknesses of democracy especially at local body level.

The Whangārei mayor is against fluoridation of water. Is the Whangārei mayor a medical professional? Looking her up, she appears not to be.

I’m not even sure she represents the view of the people who elected her.

But that’s democracy isn’t it? We appoint or anoint people with experience and skill in little if anything and expect them to run important stuff.

What makes her fluoridation objection so ironic is the fact she’s from Northland and it is Northland that would appear to have the disproportionate amount of trouble in the social areas - one of them being dental health.

Not sure how many stories we’ve seen over the years of exasperated dentists with young kids from the area having their teeth extracted due to lack of care.

And yet when presented with an answer - not the whole solution or answer, but a very decent step in the right direction – they don’t appear to want it.

And they don’t appear to want it based on, what? What they call mass medication – very emotive term that – generally used by the anti-fluoride brigade.

Science as it stands and very clearly pointed out on this programme just last week by professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the former chief science advisor to John Key, told us the science supports fluoride when it comes to dental health.

And the simplest form of fluoride is fluoride in the water; otherwise you’re reliant on people doing it themselves. And as we have already seen when we leave it to people, the old doing it for you model doesn’t work.

You either want solutions or you don’t, and in fluoride we have a fairly easy and simple one.

And in the call to centralise decision making we have corrected an anomaly that never should have existed.

In a tiny country like this, a lot of the stuff we need is universal. We are not divergent communities with special needs, certainly not in health, in general or fluoride specifically.

Our kids will be better off because of this, so what value does a non-expert local politician add? The answer: none.