Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand.


New Zealand’s Director-General of Health has mandated the fluoridation of Oamaru’s drinking water, despite widespread opposition from locals.

In April 2024, the Waitaki District Council instructed its Chief Executive to request an extension of time from the Department of Health regarding the deadline for adding fluoride to the Oamaru water supply.

In the letter, the Chief Executive outlined the Council’s concerns about the legal position surrounding the Director-General’s decision and highlighted strong concerns from sections of the community.

“Council also agreed to advocate to Parliament that under the principles of localism, local communities should have the right to choose whether fluoride is added to their water,” a spokesperson said.

The Mayor, in his letter to the Minister for Health, requested a reconsideration of the decision and noted that as the decision-maker about fluoridation, the Ministry of Health should be responsible for providing information about fluoridation to the communities, rather than councils who did not make the decision.

Last week, the Waitaki District Council received a response from Dr. Diana Sarfati, Director-General of Health.

In it, she cited the High Court decision in February and a subsequent decision in May as the legal basis for not granting extensions for the fluoridation directive.

The Director-General of Health also noted that the Health Act empowered her role to direct councils to fluoridate, and that councils must comply.

The Council is now working towards complying with their statutory duty by 30 June 2024, as directed.

This article was originally published on Chris Lynch Media.

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