• Fluoride to be reintroduced to Hastings drinking water supply

Fluoride to be reintroduced to Hastings drinking water supply

After an eight-year hiatus, fluoride is to be reintroduced into Hastings' main urban drinking water supply from next week.

The Hastings District Council paused adding fluoride to the main urban water supply in 2016 following the Havelock North water contamination event.

That was to allow for the addition of chlorine for water safety, as at that time it was not possible to add both fluoride and chlorine.

Since that time, an extensive programme of drinking water infrastructure upgrades have been completed, which among other improvements enables both fluoride and chlorine to be added to the supply.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said Hastings' water had been fluoridated since the 1950s and a public vote in 2013 supported its use.

"It has always been Council's intention to re-introduce fluoride, alongside chlorine once our new water storage and treatment facilities were completed."

"This has since been reinforced by a clear directive from the Ministry of Health to resume fluoridation."

In July 2022, then Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield directed 14 councils, including HAstings District Council, to add fluoride to some or all of their water supplies.

This followed the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021 that shifted decision-making on fluoridation from councils to the Director General of Health.

In November last year, the High Court found there was a missed step in the process leading to the issuing of the requirements that needs to be addressed, but it did not rescind the direction and the affected councils are still required to proceed with fluoridation.

Fluoride will be reintroduced to the main urban water supply which provides water to Hastings, Havelock North, Flaxmere, Bridge Pa and Pakipaki, but council is not required to add fluoride to the smaller community drinking water supplies at this stage.

The community drinking water station in Hastings Civic Square near the library has recently been upgraded to provide a supply of non-chlorinated, no added fluoride water for the community.