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Investment in tobacco industry 'outrageous'

Government investment in tobacco industry 'outrageous' says PHA

Media statement, 2 December 2005

The Public Health Association (PHA) is horrified that the Government has invested in the tobacco industry.

PHA Director, Dr Gay Keating, says that it is outrageous that Government investment funds have been directed to tobacco companies. She is commenting on a survey by the Council for Socially Responsible Investment that found that five crown financial institutions had invested in the tobacco industry.

"Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death in New Zealand - with around 5000 people dying from smoking or second-hand smoke every year. More deaths occur from tobacco use each year than from HIV, tuberculosis, motor vehicle accidents, suicide and homicide combined.

"This Government has been supportive of tobacco control - it makes no sense that it would pass strong tobacco control measures on the one hand; while investing in the tobacco industry on the other."

Dr Keating says that now these investments have been exposed, she expects the Government to quickly re-evaluate where it puts its money.

"Clearly there is a need to look at the Government's guidelines around ethical investments by crown financial institutions, and to amend these guidelines to ensure that Government investment in the tobacco industry is a thing of the past."


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