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Conscience vote a smokescreen

Conscience vote a smokescreen

United Future and the National Party's call for the smoke-free environments bill to be a conscience vote is a smokescreen to try and undermine the smoke-free legislation, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

"It is ridiculous to try to argue that a major public health issue such as second hand smoke should be a conscience issue," Ms Kedgley said.

"Hundreds of New Zealanders are dying each year from second hand smoke, Ms Kedgley said. "This legislation is dealing with a major public health issue, not a moral issue, and parties should not try to pretend otherwise."

Ms Kedgley said she could see the hand of the tobacco industry at work in the efforts of some parties to undermine the smoke-free bill.

"The tobacco industry has used every trick in the book to oppose every form of tobacco control for the past four decades. And clearly they have some allies in MPs who are using discredited arguments from the tobacco industry to try and water down, or defeat, all or parts of the bill."

Ms Kedgley said other parties were trying to fudge the real issue -the need to protect the health of thousands of people working in and going out to bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.

"Politicians know full well that the health of thousands of people is seriously at risk from the dangers of exposure to second hand smoke in enclosed spaces."

Ms Kedgley said most New Zealanders were counting the days till they could breathe clean, unpolluted air in cafes and bars, and don't have to risk their health every time they go out drinking or dining. "Most New Zealanders would be horrified if the legislation was defeated in Parliament."

The Green Party will vote as a party in support of the Smoke-Free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill.

ENDS

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