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Maori smoking rate devestating

Maori smoking rate devestating

A bus load of Maori die each month because of smoking related diseases

Tena koutou whanau ma I am not here to parrot facts and figures because you all work at the coal-face and see the devastation that smoking has on our people first hand. You all know the statistics and they do not make good reading.

I am saddened because as Minister of Mâori Affairs I am invited to lots of hui. It always amazes me that we go out of way to accommodate those people who smoke. How many hui have you attended where smokers are routinely directed to the smokers corner where they can indulge in their habit.

I suppose it's like telling our children that it is okay to play basketball beside a motorway so long as they watch out for the traffic. We all know that sooner of later one of them will be killed.

If we want to be serious about stopping tobacco related diseases then we must be tough on ourselves.

Your contribution I also want to talk to you all about the work that you are doing. I cannot tell you how much your work is having on the future development of this country. The beneficiaries of this work are our people - and I am extremely grateful.

Smoking is a choice that kills our people. It's as simple as that. Our population demographic at the moment shows that we are a relatively young. The majority of our people are under 35 and any programme that seeks to encourage our older population to stick around with us longer should be encouraged.

Are these programmes race based? I can tell you right now that they are targeted at a group that needs help. These programmes are based on a need to educate, and provide solutions so that people stay out of our hospitals.

This government recognises that there is no one size fits all solution.

I was reading the Listener the other day and I have to agree with Sharon Reid who is the Lower Hutt Coordinator of Aukati Kai Paipa. She told Listener magazine that mainstream programmes haven't worked for the people she deals with.

She says staff are invited into homes where a lot of their work is carried out.and where quite often other ailments are diagnosed and referrals arranged. This approach is working because they have a quit rate of 73 percent.

There is perhaps one statistic that I want you to remember and it is this.On average there are about nine tangi every week for people who die of a smoking related disease. That is equivalent to driving a bus load of people over a cliff every month.

Counting the costs Everyone has an interest in ensuring smoking programmes are relevant. I just want people to consider the factors when deciding how much smoking costs this country every year:

There are costs to employers, individuals, whanau and the health system. I don't know if anyone has calculated the over all costs but it must be astronomical.

What about the stress related problems? how do we put a dollar figure on that?

It's hard watching someone you care about pass on from lung cancer or a smoke related illness. You all know about that because at times many of you have assisted families who have gone through that process. I know about it too. (Adlib - from my own experience)

Its about whanau (add campaign) This add campaign is great because for the first time we hear from everyday people who have a story to tell. In one of the adds Dr Peter Sharples tells us why he gave up smoking. To him it was about survival and being able to interact with his mokopuna. Non-smokers live 14 years longer than those who don't. That is extremely valuable time for anyone wanting to have some sort of influence on the lives of the next generation.

I have one Moko who lives in Queenstown - She's the best moko in the whole world (kare he mokopuna e tu atu ki aia). I now know what its like to be a grandfather. I have a duty of care to ensure that Te Rehia knows exactly where she's from and what it means to be proud and strong young women of Ngati Porou. One of the many duties of a grandfather is make sure his moko knows who they are and where they are from.

This is a responsibility that I take seriously and it is one which a lot more of our people need to take on board.

Succession planning If we want to be the leaders then we need to start making some fairly tough choices. Succession planning is about making sure that we have the capacity to deliver positive outcomes for our people.

It is significant to note that by 2020 Maori are going to make up at least 20 percent of the population. If we can curb smoking trends for this

Role Models We need to be confident about what we are doing and constantly challenge ourselves to do better. I am glad to see people like Trevor Shailer taking a part in this conference. He is a leader who had a very successful amateur boxing career. As a Mâori role model Trevor has a lot to offer and we should be targeting people like him to take a more proactive role in delivering the message.

Most of our top sports people understand the pitfalls associated with smoking, or being in an environment where smoking can be harmful.

Conclusion I just want to finish by thanking you all for inviting me here today. Your work is valued and part of the journey toward building a strong and confident nation.


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