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Ministry will make fluoride call for Christchurch by year's end

Wednesday, July 13, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, safety, management

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 13th July 2022

Christchurch City Council has received an assurance that it will not be one of the first local authorities directed by the Ministry of Health to add fluoride to its water supplies.

The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act gives the Director-General of Health power to direct local authorities to add fluoride or not to add fluoride to public drinking water supplies.

Adding fluoride to Christchurch’s drinking water supply would be complex and costly and the Council is concerned that if it is forced to do it, it could delay the delivery of its drinking water improvement programme.

The Ministry has signalled that it will start issuing local authorities with directions to fluoridate from the middle of this year.

Council Head of Three Waters Helen Beaumont says the Council is working closely with the Ministry to make sure they fully understand the situation in Christchurch and the complexity of our water supply.

“In December 2021 we provided the Ministry of Health with a range of information on fluoridating our water supply network, including how much it would cost and how long it would take.

“The Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, has now considered this information and decided that Christchurch City Council will not be one of the first local authorities to receive a direction on fluoridation," Ms Beaumont says.

Instead, Christchurch and Banks Peninsula water supplies will be considered over the coming months, with a decision made by the end of the year.

Ms Beaumont says the estimated timeframe of at least 44 months to implement fluoridation was acknowledged by Dr Bloomfield, who advised that any direction to fluoridate may have compliance dates set for after July 2024, which is the date when the new water service entities the Government is planning as part of its Three Waters Reform programme are established.

“Dr Bloomfield has strongly encouraged us to continue overall design work so we have more certainty about what work will be required, costs, and timeframes for fluoridating the water,” says Ms Beaumont.

“We’re committed to continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure the best outcomes for the community from our water supply network.”