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Retailers Reject Smokefree Coalition Claims

Retailers Reject Smokefree Coalition Claims

PRESS RELEASE – 30 March 2008

Stay Displays, its more than 200 active retailers and thousands of individual voters around New Zealand reject claims by the Smokefree Coalition’s director Mark Peck.

Stay Displays has legitimate and justifiable concerns over the controversial Government proposals to ban displays of tobacco from retail outlets. Stay Displays has made its voice public through the use of a website, the general news media and the unpaid, voluntary work of our spokespeople.

Stay Displays spokesperson Richard Green, from Palmerston North, says: “The fact that Mark Peck is attacking our group and ignoring our message shows he doesn’t want true debate and doesn’t like retailers voicing their concerns. This shows how duplicitous and hypocritical these groups are when they receive hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to undermine local dairies and convenience stores, and yet they make demands on Stay Displays.”

“Their claims that having tobacco products on display actually make people smoke is absurd. Wine displays in supermarkets don’t turn people into alcoholics; chocolate displays don’t make people fat, and tobacco displays don’t make people smoke.

“Groups like Smokefree Coalition don't represent the public; they are creatures of the Ministry of Heath, funded by the Ministry of Health doing the Ministry’s bidding. They don’t contribute to local communities or to this country’s economy, like retailers,” Mr Green said.

“The Smokefree Coalition should be embarrassed using its hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to fight against family-owned businesses. If the law on displays changes, we may see local dairies go to the wall because of the work of these lobby groups to undermine them.

“Stay Displays continues because retailers around New Zealand are downloading our petition from our website, thousands of ordinary members of the public are signing the petition, retailers are making comments to local media – and all this makes the anti-tobacco groups angry.

“There are journalists in this country who don't swallow the rubbish delivered by these lobby groups and are prepared to report the concerns of small businesses and the family-owned retailer,” Mr Green said. “The New Zealand public has a right to the truth about how the government's proposals to ban tobacco displays will affect their local communities. Many small businesses could go to the wall, and that's something everyone needs to know.”


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