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Support Grows For Publicans' Party

Support Grows For Publicans' Party

A new political party borne out of the Government’s smokefree laws is gathering support with 28 publicans around the country contacting organisers and saying they’re ready to defy the new law.

Canterbury publican Mr John Van Buren, who owns the Wheatsheaf Tavern on Banks Peninsula, has angered the Ministry of Health for not enforcing strong enough the anti-smoking legislation that has been in place since 10 December last year.

The Ministry has indicated in formal letters to Mr Van Buren and Timaru publican Geoff Mulvihill they had 14 days to respond with any mitigating circumstances before they face the full force of the law. “We don’t think we are breaking the law because we are warning people and taking all reasonable steps to prevent them from smoking on the premises. But people continue to smoke anyway,” he said.

But Mr Van Buren said support from bar and tavern owners ready to defy the ban, with dozens of others around the country contacting party organisers, has only encouraged the two pub owners to continue their political aspirations.

“There’s growing interest around the country from publicans who are enthusiastic about putting their names to a fledgling political movement,” Mr Van Buren said today.

“We publicans and bar owners around the country are the ones who are in-tune with hard-working, taxpaying Kiwis. They’re our customers; they’re our bread and butter; they know us and we know them.”

“Nowhere is the growing discontent with the policies of this Government more evident than the average Kiwi who is being told more and more what they can and can’t do. Smoking is a side issue, but the legislation was the final straw. This government is now discussing ways to tell members of the public how, when and what they can and can’t drink.”

Mr Van Buren said the new party, called WIN, was serious about putting democracy back into politics.

“How long is it before all personal responsibility is taken from us? Our party will promote Freedom of Choice and a return to real democracy, especially for laws that attempt to engineer a particular type of society.”

“There is no freedom of choice with this government. There is only an administration that wants to tell us what to do. It’s the Nanny State,” Mr Van Buren said.

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