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Māori Health Researcher/Wai Claimant Blasts Government For Latest Response

WHANGANUI; Friday 9th Februrary, 2024: Leading health researcher Dr Amohia Boulton, says the government’s latest response to an urgent hearing with the Waitangi Tribunal to repeal the smokefree act, is appalling and shows disdain for Māori lives.

Yesterday the Crown rejected the urgency of a hearing, a move that has angered claimants; Dr Boulton is one of the four claimants. The bill to repeal the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act will be introduced to parliament on March 8th this year.

“We are less than four weeks away from undoing legislation which will prevent 5000 people dying per year. This is equivalent to wiping out an entire town such as Balclutha (pop.4340), or Kaikohe (pop. 4980) or Dargaville (pop.4794).

Boulton says this decision is yet another nail in the coffin of not just Māori but all New Zealanders.

“When one person dies from smoking-related diseases, you don’t just bury one person. The ripples extend out to their whānau, their hāpori (community), their hapū, their Iwi. When one person dies, hundreds of people are affected - this bill is bad from every direction.

“Aotearoa doesn’t want this, I’ve not met one person who thinks this is a good idea for our nation,” says Dr Boulton.

Boulton says the claimants will continue to pressure the government, but in the meantime she is encouraging people to sign the petition Put our People over Profit – Stop the Repeal of the Smokefree Legislation | OurActionStation Link here

“This government is content to throw away Māori lives; their position is indefensible, the evidence for keeping this bill as is irrefutable. We will continue to fight for a Smoke-Free generation, we owe it to ourselves and but also to the young people who are our future,” says Dr Boulton.

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