By Ken Perrott 28/09/2016

The NZ Court of Appeal has rejected the latest legal attempt by New Zealand anti-fluoridation campaigners to hinder community water fluoridation.

This certificate should be awarded to New Health NZ, the NZ Health Trust and the anti-fluoridation movement for not knowing when to give up on the “fluoridation is medicine” myth.

You can read a summary of the ruling in the Court’s press release – New Health v South Taranaki District Council. The full Court of Appeal ruling can also be downloaded.

Of course, you might find it boring – it is full of legalese. The appeals (there were three and all were rejected) themselves were  about details – the definition of a medicine and the right of governments to make regulations. But readers might want to reflect on who took the legal action and who paid for it.

New Health NZ took the High Court actions and appeals. It is an incorporated society set up in 2005 by the The New Zealand Health Trust. This Trust is the lobby group for the “natural”/alternative health industry in New Zealand and is financed by that industry. So, in effect, this legal action was taken by the alternative health industry – and paid for by this industry – which is big business.

We can get some idea of the costs involved from the financial statements of the NZ Health Trust (strangely registered as a charity) and New Health NZ (statements available on the society’s register). Unfortunately, the latest statements only provide information for the 2014 and 2015 financial years – but the legal action is several years old so you can get an idea of the money flows involved.


The NZ health Trust appears to receive grants in the hundreds of thousands per year from the alternative health industry($250,000 in 2014 and $190,000 in 2015). In its turn, it distributed “grants & donations” in the hundreds of thousands (125,000 in 2014 and $130,000 in 2015).

New Health NZ

New Health NZ received grants of around $100,000 per year ($100,00 in 2014 and $95,000 in 2015). It paid out similar amounts in “Professional and Consultancy Fees” ($95,156 in 2014 and $95,124 in 2015).

New Health NZ

These amounts are of the order required for the legal actions taken by this group.

So here we see a money flow from the “natural”/alternative health industry, through the New Zealand Health Trust to New Health NZ to pay for legal attempts to halt community water fluoridation.

At least, this time, New Health NZ was ordered to pay costs – a sure sign that the court believes their legal actions no longer have any community value.

A sign that they should stop promoting their myth that community water fluoridation is a medicine – they should stop flogging that dead horse.


0 Responses to “Flogging a dead horse – anti-fluoridationists lose in court again”

  • That link to their statements appears to be broken. The Societies website is pretty bad, unfortunately it might not be possible to link directly to those documents.

  • Interesting. Great to hear New Health Nz are paying costs, because the other side of the story is the cost in time and money for the District Council (I.e. rate payers). I’m curious – how do you know the ‘grants’ New Health receive are from the alternative health industry? I always assumed their money was coming from the anti- fluoride motherhood in the USA.

    • Jude, I don’t “know.” But the evidence suggests it. Ther NZ Health Trust is a lobby group for the NZ industry. I am not aware of details of how the industry finances its work although it is reasonable to expect some sort of contributions from at least the bigger firms. However, the accounts over several years do show huge loans from P. D. Sloan – who has been the owner of a number of alternative health companies. It might be that the financing operates pretty informally (and he recovers his loans as the other companies contribute).

      New Health NZ was set up as an incorporated society by the NZ Health Trust in 2005. The public reasoning at the time was that an incorporated society was necessary to have a public membership – but the web page for public joining doesn’t even seem to work.

      Incidentally, the funding for the US Fluoride Action Network also comes from the alternative health industry – the formal arrangements and funding from is public knowledge.

    • Danyl – what evidence do you want?

      I, of course, do not have access to the details of the financial links. But I think it is very reasonable to accept that the NZ Health trust, is financed by the industry. It describes itself as a charity – and is on the NZ charity’s register, but that is laughable considering the size of the “grants”- and the personal financial input from Sloan (as high as half a million in one year, who is commercially involved in the industry.

      The link between the NZ Health Trust and New Health NZ is no secret – its founding is reported on the NZ health Trust’s web site.

      But, again, what specific evidence do you require (bearing in mind it would be impossible to actually get detailed financial records. The official information legislation does not apply to commercial entities like this.

  • Ken. I can’t see why their funding is an issue at all. Surely what matters is the theory and evidence they have to back up their policy ideas. If that is bad (and I’m thinking it is) then funding doesn’t matter, the lack of serious science to back up their claims matters. If their claims actually had serious backing then, again, funding doesn’t matter, the science does. One should play the ball, not the man.

    • Paul, this article did not discuss the science because that wasn’t at issue. It was about an appeal over a high court ruling on the definition of medicine. There were no scientific claims to discuss.

      I very often do discuss the science and am continually debunking the scientific distortions and misinformation coming from anti-fluoride propagandists. Have a look at my fluoridation articles.

      But it doesn’t hurt to very occasionally consider the ideological and commercial motivations of some of these people. Especially as many of their arguments are actually ideological and they are the ones who are continually claiming scientists like me have commercial motives. And if you look at their claims about me you will realise that they are the ones playing the man – not me.