Release: Health professionals rally against Govt’s backwards repeal of Smokefree legislation

Labour’s Health Spokesperson Dr Ayesha Verrall joined health professionals and groups at Parliament’s steps today to receive a petition with over 45,000 signatures calling for the Government to stop its repeal of the Smokefree legislation.

“Today, standing side-by-side with many of our health professionals at Parliament in unison with further supporters in Auckland, we made a resounding call for the Government to come to its senses and stop its repeal of the Smokefree legislation,” said Dr Ayesha Verrall.

“It’s completely immoral this coalition Government are planning to repeal this legislation to pay for its tax cuts. The harms of tobacco on our communities and whānau are starkly clear, with evidence showing that the Smokefree legislation would save over 8,000 lives, extend Māori life expectancy and save about $1.3 billion in healthcare costs.

“The consequences of the National-led Government’s decisions are severe and may cost the economy billions as a result of health implications faced by working Kiwis, who may be forced to leave their jobs.

“Polling commissioned by Health Coalition Aotearoa shows that 67 percent of New Zealanders support our smokefree legislation. It goes without saying that New Zealanders value the lives of their whānau and don’t want to see them smoking, just so the wealthy few get tax cuts.

“The National Party did not campaign on this repeal at the election. New Zealanders were shocked by plans to scrap smokefree changes in a dirty deal done behind closed doors.

“Dr Reti cannot run from responsibility for this decision that takes our country and our health system backwards,” said Ayesha Verrall.

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