Fluoride information


Latest News


3 September 2014

Safe Water Alternative NZ Inc (SWANZ) has withdrawn from their judicial review against Hamilton City Council’s decision to reintroduce fluoride into the city.

This means that no High Court hearing will take place and that fluoride will remain in Hamilton’s water supply.


The date for the hearing was initially set for next week, Tuesday 9 September.


No costs will be sought from SWANZ as part of the settlement.


Timeline of key events

11 December 2012: Council decision to review Fluoridation of the City Water Supply Policy

1 March – 2 April 2013: Public consultation and submissions on fluoridation of water supply

28-30 May & 4 June 2013: Hearings – Tribunal process

5 June 2013: Deliberations and decision to remove fluoride from Hamilton’s water supply

October 2013: Citizens initiated non-binding referendum to vote on whether or not Hamiltonians wanted fluoride put back into city’s water supply (results: 70% voted FOR adding fluoride, 32% AGAINST)

28 November 2013: Council decide to defer decision on fluoridation until South Taranaki judgement (see below)

7 March 2014: South Taranaki judgement released: www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/from/decisions/judgments

27 March 2014: Hamilton City Council made the decision to re-commence fluoridation of the City's water supply

28 April 2014: A statement of claim was lodged with the High Court by Safe Water Alternative NZ Inc (SWANZ) to test Hamilton City Councils’ decision to recommence the fluoridation of water supply. 

26 June 2014: High Court refused Safe Water Alternative NZ Inc’s application for interim relief of fluoride into Hamilton’s water supply.

9 September 2014: High Court hearing scheduled to take place

Summary of consultation process

Council considered on-going requests from the community on the practice of adding fluoride to the Hamilton water supply and made a decision to review fluoridation of the Hamilton Water Supply Policy.

Public consultation opened on 1 March and closed on 2 April 2013.

A total of 1557 submissions were received. A tribunal-style hearing was held 28, 29, 30 May and 4 June 2013. This involved a co-ordinated presentation by both the opponents and supporters of water fluoridation to Council. In addition to these presentations, 141 individuals or representative organisations presented.

Submissions - high level summary

The majority (1385) of submissions sought Council to stop adding fluoride to the city water supply with 170 submissions supporting the continuation of fluoride. Two submitters did not indicate a stance.

A total of 984 submitters indicated they were Hamilton residents or ratepayers. A further 74 submitters indicated they were Hamilton water users (but not ratepayers or residents)

The key reasons for submitters wanting Council to stop the fluoridation of the Hamilton water supply were around individuals having the right to choose what they ingest (994), the links between fluoride to a number of illnesses, risks and harm (807) and the perception that fluoride is considered ineffective (741).

Of those wishing Council to continue to fluoridate the water supply (170), the key reasons were the perception that fluoridating the water supply is a cost-effective population-based strategy to prevent dental cavities (124), that there is scientific research to support fluoridation (45) and people citing their own experiences with the benefits (or problems due to the lack) of fluoride (46).

The document below provides a list of submitters with a link to their submission document.

Submissions to the Fluoridation Consultation
A high level summary of submission can be found in the following report.
Submissions analysis report


After four days of submissions, on 5 June 2013 Council voted 7-1 to stop the practice of adding fluoride to the public water supply from no later than 21 June when stocks run out.

It was also resolved that The Minister for Health be advised of the Council’s decision, and expressing this Council’s view that Central government is responsible for providing health services and the decision about whether to fluoridate drinking water or not, is a decision for central government not local government.

Legal Opinion from Tompkins Wake (PDF, 104MB)

Citizens initiated referendum

October 2013
The 2013 council election gave people the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want fluoride put back in the city’s public water supply.
Final results of the fluoride referendum (as of Saturday 12 October)
Voted FOR fluoride being added to the water​24635
​Voted AGAINST fluoride being added to the water​11768
 In the non-binding fluoride referendum just under 70 per cent voted FOR adding fluoride to the water while approximately 32 per cent voted against it.

Decision deferred on fluoridation

28 November 2013
Hamilton City Council decided 7 votes to 5 to defer a decision on whether or not to re-fluoridate the City’s water supply. This followed a decision to remove it following a Tribunal in June and a subsequent referendum in October that saw 70% of voters asking for fluoride to be put back.
The decision to defer is to enable the Council give consideration to the High Court decision in Taranaki.
Those who supported this motion:
Cr Yeung
Cr Forsyth
Cr Pascoe
Cr O'Leary
Cr Macpherson
Cr Green
Cr Mallett.
Those who did not support this motion:
Mayor Hardaker
Cr Chesterman
Cr King
Cr Tooman
Cr Wilson
Cr Gallagher - declared an interest and did not take part in voting on this item.
Report to 28 November 2013 council meeting:

Decision made: Fluoride back for Hamilton

27 March 2014

Hamilton City Council voted 9-1 to re-commence fluoridation of the City's water supply.

Voting for:

  • Mayor Julie Hardaker
  • Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman
  • Cr Andrew King
  • Cr Leo Tooman
  • Cr Karina Green
  • Cr Angela O’Leary
  • Cr Rob Pascoe
  • Cr Ewan Wilson
  • Cr Gary Mallett

Voting against:

  • Cr Philip Yeung

Did not take part (following advice from city solicitor):

  • Cr Martin Gallagher

Not present:

  • Cr Dave Macpherson
  • Cr Margaret Forsyth

Media Release: Fluoride back for Hamilton - Council backs the community response


Fluoride re-introduced​ to​​ Hamilton's water supply

26 June 2014

Today, the High Court refused Safe Water Alternative NZ Inc's (SWANZ) application for interim relief of fluoride into Hamilton's water supply.

This means that the process to put fluoride back into the water supply will now begin.​

It will take up to seven days to begin adding fluoride to the city's water supply and a further one to two weeks for fluoride to be distributed right throughout the water supply network.

SWANZ will continue with their application to challenge fluoridation at the substantial High Court hearing.  The date of this High Court hearing is set for 9 September.

$50,000 has been set aside in the draft 2014/15 Annual Plan to meet the costs of the court hearings. ​

Fluoride re-introduced to city's water supply​

3 July 2014

Fluoride was added to the city’s Water Treatment Plant at 3pm today.

It will take a further one to two weeks for fluoride to be distributed right throughout the water supply network.

The date of this High Court hearing is set for 9 September.

For more information on the fluoride process to date, visit www.hamilton.govt.nz/fluoride


Relevant publications / information

'City News' summarising the Council's fluoride decision to remove fluoride - June 2013
Your Questions on Fluoride Answered (PDF, 903KB)

The tribunal hearings and Council meetings were all recorded and are available on YouTube.

HCC Fluoride Tribunal and Council Meetings - video footage


Page reviewed: 03 Sep 2014 4:05pm