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Ambassador co-hosting event a backward step

Ambassador co-hosting tobacco sponsored event a “mystifying backward step”

Public Health Association media release, 27 February 2012

The Public Health Association (PHA) has condemned New Zealand’s ambassador to the US Mike Moore co-hosting a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA) trade event sponsored by tobacco company Phillip Morris.

PHA Strategic Advisor for Māori Public Health: Keriata Stuart says it completely flies in the face of the New Zealand government’s commitment to a smokefree New Zealand by 2025 to officially attend events hosted by companies whose products kill 5000 New Zealanders every year – including 1000s of Māori.

“What sort of message does this send to New Zealand families and whānau when, on the one hand we endorse getting rid of tobacco, and on the other we work with tobacco companies to host ‘exclusive’ international events?”

She says worst of all, however, is that fact that going to tobacco company sponsored events acknowledges that overseas companies have some sort of right to determine New Zealand trade policies in the first place.

“Let’s be very clear. These are companies desperate to slow or prevent any government’s moves to make it hard for them to sell their toxic products, and their influence on our foreign trade agreements should not be welcome in the slightest.

“It’s extremely disappointing in the light of our recent Māori Affairs Select Committee’s sound condemnation of tobacco companies and their practices in New Zealand, and its recommendation that any form of partnership with tobacco companies be banned.

“This is a completely mystifying backward step that undermines much fine work done by the present government, the Māori and Green Parties and many others in reducing deaths caused by smoking in New Zealand.”

ENDS


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