Boards in The News

The roles of Waipā’s two community boards in water and dog issues are in the spotlight this week.

Te Awamutu Community Board’s submission on the council’s draft Water Supply Bill sent earlier this month referred to brain damage and read: “it is clear from peer reviewed evidence that fluoridation is a public health risk despite central government’s best efforts to subvert the science”.

The News reported last week that the new Health New Zealand entity wanted to fluoride Waipā supplies now that the decision making on the issue had been taken out of council hands.

Three of the six community board members – Susan O’Regan, Lou Brown and Richard Hurrell – have told The News they do not agree with the submission.

In Cambridge, board chair Sue Milner complained in a social media post that an online webinar about dog control did not allow for public input, when in fact it did.

Sue Milner

Sue Milner

Milner’s comments, which sparked a wave of criticism of the council, came on the back of a poorly worded media release which wrongly suggested dogs could be banned from two main recreation venues in Te Awamutu and Cambridge – and also resulted in anti-council rhetoric. The council has since apologised.

The proposal is for Memorial Park and Lake Te Koo Utu to be on-leash areas only.

Yesterday Milner apologised for the error and acknowledged she had been told by other community board members and asked by chief executive Garry Dyet, to pull down the post and a subsequent one when she called a public meeting.

Waipā District Council is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the roles of community boards, having earlier in this term elected not to follow a staff recommendation to abolish them.

The News was alerted to the fluoride claim from the Te Awamutu board on Tuesday evening by member Kane Titchener – an anti-fluoride campaigner. The comment was made in a submission to council on its water supply bylaw.

Garry Dyet

Council wants to update its present bylaw to reflect the current water supply system. The draft did not contain any reference to community water fluoridation as Waipā has never added it to its water supplies.

The submission he quoted said “certain members of the Te Awamutu Community Board believe that adding fluoride chemicals to the shared public water supply in order to fluoridate has many deleterious health effects for all consumers given that fluoride effects amongst other human systems, the endocrine system.”

The endocrine system regulates biological processes in the body.

It also said: “there are now 78 of 83 human IQ studies that show a lowering of IQ as a result of fluoride exposure”.

The board submission suggested council would be in breach of the water supply policy “if it decides to go ahead with fluoridation of the water supply”.

The community board had resolved to make a submission on the bylaw “to be approved by the chairperson in consultation with Te Awamutu Community Board members”.

Angela Holt

After being alerted to the document, The News asked board chair Ange Holt and members Richard Hurrell, Jill Taylor and council appointed members Susan O’Regan and Lou Brown whether they supported the submission.

As this edition went to press early on Wednesday, Susan O’Regan had responded, saying she did not support the submission. Richard Hurrell said he didn’t support the submission either – and was unaware of it.

Lou Brown told The News “I do not agree with the fluoridation statement and both Susan O’Regan and I stood aside from the Community Board submission process on water supply and reticulation.”


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