Fuseworks Media

Dannevirke’s water fluoridation proceeding as directed

Tararua District Council is moving forward with the purchase, installation, and commissioning of a fluoridation plant in Dannevirke, as instructed by the Director-General of Health in July 2022.

Last year, after hearing and understanding community concerns, Council paused the progress on the fluoridation plant, and this pause allowed for the High Court Judicial Review of the Director-General’s direction and its outcome to be understood.

In November, Council requested an update from the Ministry of Health regarding the HighCourt’s decision. The High Court determined that the Director-General had not fully considered the rights outlined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 when making the decision. However, it is very important to note the High Court did not reverse the Director-General of Health’s original direction and, as such, the direction received in July 2022 remains in place.

Council entered into negotiations with the Ministry of Health which have resulted in the full funding of the Dannevirke fluoridation plant, with 70% of the funds already released. Council has also successfully requested an extension of the deadline from June 30, 2024, to August 28, 2024, due to the extended procurement and design phase of the project.

Council is currently proceeding with the design, final funding release, Ministry of Health approval, and installation of the fluoridation plant by the new deadline. This decision ensures Council avoids severe financial penalties. Failure to meet the deadline of 28th August 2024 without a valid reason, will result in daily financial penalties until compliance is achieved, potentially affecting funding for other projects and future rates.

The upcoming steps for the Dannevirke drinking water fluoridation plant include the delivery and installation of the plant in April 2024, commissioning and handover to the council in late July 2024, and full operation by August 28, 2024.

 

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