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Fluoride in our water

Fluoride in Hastings main drinking water supply

In 2016, fluoride had to be removed from Hastings’ main 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, to the supply once the new water storage and treatment facilities are completed.

Direction to fluoridate

In July 2022, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield directed 14 councils, under the Health Act, to add fluoride to some or all of their water supplies. Hastings District Councils Hastings Urban water supply was 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 2023, a High Court judgement found that the 2021 decision did not give specific consideration to the New Zealand Bill of Rights. However, the court judgement did not quash the direction to fluoridate, which means the direction is still in place for Hastings’ main urban drinking water supply.

When will fluoride be reintroduced and where?

Fluoride was reintroduced to the Hastings Urban supply (Hastings, Flaxmere, Havelock North, Bridge Pa and Pakipaki) in April 2024.

At this stage, no other HDC public water supply will be fluoridated.

Will residents be able to get fluoride-free water at the public stations?

The water supplied from the drinking water filling station on Civic Square in Hastings will not be fluoridated or chlorinated, following an upgrade in early December.

The public taps in Flaxmere and Havelock North will dispense chlorine-removed fluoridated water and Whakatu and Haumoana chlorine-removed water with no fluoride added to these supplies.


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