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Labour whacks hospitality industry again

Labour whacks hospitality industry again

On the eve of the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act taking effect, ACT Leader Rodney Hide has labelled 2004 `annus horribilis' for New Zealand's hospitality industry.

"The small businesses that make up our hospitality industry have been an important element of recent growth yet continually they've had to carry the can for a Labour Government big on regulation.

"Hardworking licensees and mangers will lose patrons and revenue as a direct result of the smoke-free legislation. What's more they'll be forced to watch like hawks over their premises in the fear of copping hefty fines while culprit smokers face no penalties. It's a bad law that takes away freedom and punishes the wrong people."

Mr Hide said its going to be an expensive summer holiday season for restaurants, cafes and bars which already have to deal with the additional employment costs brought on by the Holidays Act. Also costly are the ongoing excise rises for tobacco and alcohol, and hikes to ACC levies.

"The non-smoking ACT caucus is no apologist for smokers. But we do believe in personal responsibility and choice as well as standing up for our small businesses - not whacking them week in week out like this Labour Government does."

"There are more important things for this Government to be worrying about and bigger and `badder' crims to nail than small businesses who may be harbouring smokers. I can't believe we're going to have Health Ministry smoke police wandering around trying to bust bars frequented by rebel smokers.

"What about putting more public resources into what's really important like the police to protect New Zealanders instead of always hassling them with more and more regulation.

"This country faces some major law and order issues, yet Helen Clark is more interested in penalising our already squeezed small businesses and taking away people's freedoms and choices. It's time this Government fixed the real problems," Mr Hide said.

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