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Hypocrisy in nation’s leadership on tobacco control

Hypocrisy in nation’s leadership on tobacco control

Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau
Tuesday 13 May 2014

Mana Party Leader and MP Hone Harawira is looking forward to meeting with Australian Tobacco Control experts Jonathan Liberman and Kylie Lindorff tomorrow before they give their oral submission on the Smokefree Environments (Tobacco Plain packaging) Amendment Act to Parliament’s health select committee. They are here to put Australia’s evidence before the committee and advocate for New Zealand to adopt similar plain packaging legislation without delay.

“I want to personally thank them for taking the time to come and support the measure in New Zealand. When the best minds in Australia think the policy is legally robust and working over there, that should give our government the confidence they need to go ahead with it here,” said Mr Harawira.

Harawira said he was impatient with the time it was taking New Zealand to match its packaging laws with Australia, despite its trade partnership obligations.

“There’s hypocrisy in our nation’s leadership when on one day it commits to eradicating tobacco use in Aotearoa before 2025, but then on another says it can wait until arbitrations against Australia are over at the WTO. That’s like saying we’ll do something when pigs fly.”

“And there’s yet more hypocrisy when the government breaches its obligations under the WTO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by letting the tobacco industry’s scaremongering tactics affect their decision-making on plain packaging.

“It’s a bad look, particularly as you see former tobacco lobbyists line up to represent the National Party in the next elections.”

“I hope the health select committee can rise above these failings and listen carefully to the evidence they hear from these visitors tomorrow.”

“We’ve stalled on plain packaging long enough. Māori kids remain at higher risk of exposure to this form of marketing than other kids. The longer tobacco packs stay as they are, the longer this murdering industry gets to market their deadly product. It’s time for the government to stand up to the tobacco industry and eradicate one of its last forms of advertising”.

ENDS

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