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Repeal Of Smokefree Legislation To Go Ahead In Breach Of The Treaty Of Waitangi

The Crown's refusal to engage with our Waitangi tribunal claim and the failure of this Government to consult with Māori is just not acceptable” the Crown has the breached the treaty principles, says Sue Taylor, Chair of Te Roopu Tupeka Kore and one of the WAI 3315 claimants.

“Our people deserve better, they need to know the truth, our people expect to be informed about why this Government is repealing the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act (SERPA), and what this means for this country”, says Taylor. “Because the Government has failed to inform our people, we have taken measures into our own hands and created a social media campaign to keep our people informed”.

Te Roopu Tupeka Kore has launched a social media campaign highlighting government’s refusal to consult with Māori as part of their Treaty obligations, government’s refusal to heed the warnings of health experts, and the similarity between Government’s comments and the Tobacco Industry’s messages. Already it has gained huge support.

“Government’s repeal is a clear violation of the Treaty and fails the principles of partnership, consultation and duty of care for Māori” said Hone Harawira, one of the WAI3315 claimants. “Government’s repeal will also result in the direct loss of Māori lives simply so they can use the tobacco tax for tax breaks for their wealthy supporters and donors.

“Māori lives to pay for tax cuts is an ugly but easy way to understand the repeal of the Smokefree legislation” said Harawira, “so we’ll fight this on every level.”

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Smoking remains the greatest preventable cause of death among Māori, representing 25% of Māori deaths. Despite a general decline in cigarette use, significant disparities persist. Latest New Zealand Health Survey findings suggest daily smoking prevalence among Māori is 17%, in contrast to the 6% reported among others. The SERPA is estimated to prevent over 3000 avoidable deaths among Māori by 2040. Key SERPA measures aim to make cigarettes non-addictive and much less accessible as well as protect future generations from ever taking up smoking.

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