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Sponsorship Criticism Smoke In The Air

Sponsorship Criticism Smoke In The Air

Recent criticism of a tobacco company's sponsorship of the Life Education Trust is completely unwarranted, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"A private body which receives no Government funding, the Life Education Trust programme promotes `healthy attitudes and habits to prevent children abusing their bodies'. It has become so popular among New Zealand's primary school children that the Trust's mascot, Harold the Giraffe, has become something of a national icon.

The fact that the programme takes such a strong anti-smoking stance using, in part, tobacco company money without recognition for that company speaks for itself," Mrs Roy said.

"Conscience money or not, it helps the Trust to reach 250,000 children annually with a health safety message that parents endorse.

"Education Minister Trevor Mallard's criticism of this sponsorship is reminiscent of that heaped on Salvation Army founder William Booth, who was criticised for collecting money in pubs. His retort was that `I don't mind using the devil's money against him'.

"Mr Mallard is guilty of sour grapes. What the Education Minister really finds most detestable is that a successful private initiative is operating in publicly funded schools," said Mrs Roy.

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