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Stop-smoking boost investment in nation’s health

15 June 2000

Stop-smoking boost an investment in nation’s health

The Green Party today announced a $4 million initiative from the Green Budget Package to fund quit-smoking programmes. Nicotine replacement therapy will be available to low income people for less than a packet of cigarettes.

The Green Party supported the $1 per pack tax hike on cigarettes last month on the condition that the Government considered how to provide free quit-smoking programmes for people on low incomes. The $4 million from the Green Package will ensure that condition is fully met.

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the initiative was an example of preventative health (a key Green policy) in action. “Giving people on lower incomes the ability to afford stop-smoking treatments is an issue of equity as well as preventative health,” she said.

“We all know that nicotine is the most addictive drug in the world and people who want to give up a very dangerous addiction should not be prohibited by their ability to pay,” she said.

“We are hoping that people on lower incomes will take full advantage of this initiative – for the sake of their own health and that of their families,” said Ms Kedgley.

“This programme will have a positive impact on the overall health of New Zealanders, the state of the public health system and the health of the economy.”

Green Party Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford said she was proud to be associated with this initiative and that the Greens were keeping the faith with the party’s lower-income voters.

“The Greens could not in principle support a huge tax hike on tobacco without taking serious measures to assist those on lower incomes to give up,” she said. “This is a very positive move for beneficiaries, Maori and those who do not earn very much.

“The Green Party urges smokers to make the most of this opportunity,” said Ms Bradford.


Ends


Sue Kedgley MP (Health): 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088
Sue Bradford MP (Social Services): 04 470 6720, 025 243 4239
Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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