In July 2022, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield directed 14 councils, under the Health Act to 14, to add fluoride to some or all of their water supplies. Hastings District Council is included in the 14.
This follows the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021 that shifted decision-making on fluoridation from councils to the Director-General of Health.
In 2016, fluoride had to be removed from the Hastings urban drinking water supply to enable Council to chlorinate in the wake of the Havelock North water crisis.
Council’s system was only set up to enable the addition of one element and chlorine was crucial to keep our drinking water safe.
Prior to this, Hastings’ water had been fluoridated since the 1950s, with the decision supported by a community referendum in 2013. It received 14,973 responses; 9512 in favour of continuing fluoridation, 5461 against.
It has always been Council’s intention to re-introduce fluoride, alongside chlorine, once our new water storage and treatment facilities are completed.
Fluoride will be reintroduced to the main urban supply (Hastings, Flaxmere, Havelock North, Pakipaki, Bridge Pa) on the completion of the Waiaroha water storage and treatment facility mid-next year to meet the Ministry of Health timeframe (30 June 2023).
At this stage, Council is only required to fluoridate its main drinking water supply.
We hope to be able to offer fluoride-free water at these taps but will need to confirm this with the Ministry of Health and, if permission is granted, confirm how this is done. The process for removing chlorine differs from that which would remove fluoride.
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