Labour supports report to rid New Zealand of smoking by 2025
Iain Lees-Galloway | Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 11:07
The Labour Party welcomes the Maori Affairs Select Committee's bold report on the effects of the tobacco industry on Maori that was tabled in Parliament today.
Labour Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway, who was a member of the committee for the duration of the inquiry, says the report's recommendations give the Government a framework from which it can construct a clear plan for New Zealand to achieve freedom from tobacco by 2025.
"As well as recommending a series of initiatives that will reduce smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption across the whole population, the report focuses on initiatives that directly support Maori who are disproportionately affected by smoking related diseases," Iain Lees-Galloway said.
"Initiatives such as removing tobacco displays from shops, requiring plain packaging for cigarettes and increasing the availability of nicotine replacement therapy are designed to deter young people from taking up smoking and to support people who want to quit while minimising the impact on those who have not yet chosen to give up.
"Other suggestions include making the tobacco industry more accountable for the impact their product has on our communities.
"The ball is now in the Government's court. The hundreds of health professionals, iwi representatives, community organisations and families who made submissions to the inquiry will be counting on them to be as bold as the committee.
“However, Labour has serious concerns about the National Government’s commitment to reducing smoking rates in New Zealand. In this year’s budget $12million was cut from smoking cessation.
"Prime Minister John Key said yesterday the goal of being Smokefree in 15 years is a huge ask. We need to get on with the job as soon as possible. There is no need to delay removing tobacco displays. Let's get on with it.
"Tony Ryall and Tariana Turia will soon have an opportunity to show their commitment. My Smokefree Environments (Removing Tobacco Displays) Amendment bill is due to be read in Parliament before the end of the year.
"Banning tobacco displays is the next logical step and there is no need to wait.
"I urge Tariana Turia and the National Government to show their commitment to improving the health of New Zealanders by supporting the recommendations of this report,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.