Sacrificing the health of our rangatahi to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy few is a deeply cynical move and shows this Government is more influenced by lobbyists than evidence.
“This National, Act and New Zealand First Government will go down in history as one of the most harmful, anti-evidence governments New Zealand has ever had. There is simply no defencece for prioritising tobacco profit over the health of people,” says the Green Party’s health spokesperson, Hūhana Lyndon.
“Good health is vital to an enjoyable and meaningful life. For decades, tobacco lobbyists have made it their mission to do as much harm as they can in the name of profit.
“To have a group of people in government willing to pass laws that benefit the tobacco industry is a betrayal of public health – and we will not stand by as they harm our communities.
“People in Aotearoa were rightly proud to be leading the world in public health action and smoking harm reduction. This is based on decades of evidence and research about what works. The plan to reduce the nicotine content of cigarettes and their availability in our communities made Aotearoa a world leader.
“Now we are a laughing stock the world over. Like the smoking embers of a cigarette ground into the pavement, this government is as out of place in the 21st century as smoking is in our communities.
“Currently, 5,000 people die from the harms of tobacco-related illnesses every year. Māori and Pacific whānau are more likely to suffer tobacco harms, with Māori rangatahi being particularly at risk of taking up smoking. The Government must uphold its obligations under te Tiriti o Waitagni to actively protect and promote Māori health and wellbeing, including by meeting Māori health needs and aspirations.
“Repealing smoke free legislation means loved ones will die so tobacco companies can continue to profit and the government can cut taxes for the wealthiest few. That is the choice this government is making.
“The Green Party has always taken an evidence-based, compassionate approach to reducing harm in our communities. The time is now to invest in our collective health and wellbeing so everyone can lead a healthy life,” says Hūhana Lyndon.