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Video phone giveaway wasteful

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

28 June 2006

Video phone giveaway wasteful

A cell phone giveaway used to entice young people into a smoking cessation programme is wasteful and will be milked for all it’s worth, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

The Health Research Council has allocated $1.5 million of taxpayers’ money to Auckland University researchers to design a stop-smoking programme of video and text messaging aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds.

Up to 1,300 young people will be recruited to take part in the programme, with 200 getting a free video phone.

“Trying to stop smoking is laudable, but if the Government doesn’t realise that some young people will milk this for a free video phone, they are truly stupid,”says Mr Ryall.

“This sends a very bad signal to young people who don’t smoke.

“This sounds remarkably like the Wananga, where people enrolled, took the free phones, and were never seen again.

“If the Government wants to extend the current text-based anti-smoking scheme STOMP, it should be done with smoker’s own phones, not taxpayers’ money.

“This is typical Labour philosophy, where the more irresponsible you are, the more they’ll give you,” says Mr Ryall.


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