The Ministry of Health has ordered all New Zealand city councils to make sure that the water supplied to people’s houses is fluoridated. For most New Zealanders, this is not very interesting because their water is already fluoridated, but 14 regions do not have fluoride in all of their water. These regions, (Auckland, Hastings, Horowhenua, Kawerau, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua Lakes, Tararua, Tauranga City, Waipa, Waitaki, Western Bay of Plenty, Far North and Whangārei), will have to fluoridate their water supply.
There are some people in every community who worry that fluoride is not good for health. Those people usually filter their water before they drink it. They also vote against fluoridation, which is why some councils have not fluoridated the water. Last year there was a law change that enabled the ministry of health to insist on fluoridation of drinking water. The reason why the government wants water to be fluoridated is that it is good for people’s teeth.
In New Zealand, going to see the dentist is not subsidised. It is one of the most expensive things that people have to do. The Member of Parliament for the Waiariki electorate, Rawiri Waititi argues that the New Zealand government should also subsidise dental care just like it subsidises medical care.
Fluoride: a natural mineral that is often found in water that comes from the ground. It is good for our teeth.
Fluoridate: (verb) put fluoride into water
Fluoridation: (noun) the act of putting fluoride into water
Supply: give, bring, send
Region: an area bigger than a city that includes countryside and towns
Council: local government, elected by the people who live in a region. Local councils take care of things like roads and water supply for a region.
Subsidised: made cheaper with financial help from the government
Electorate: a region of New Zealand represented by a member of parliament, a region that votes together for the country’s government
Dental care: help with the teeth and mouth